KANSAS CITY -- An infield single by White Sox slugger Paul Konerko in the top of the seventh inning Sunday broke up a no-hit bid for Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie.
Guthrie cruised through the game's first 6 2/3 innings, with all that separated him from a perfect-game bid being a fifth-inning walk to A.J. Pierzynski.
But after Guthrie struck out the first two hitters in the seventh, Konerko hit a ground ball deep into the hole at shortstop. The ball was fielded by Alcides Escobar, who made a throw that bounced several feet in front of first baseman Eric Hosmer. Hosmer attempted to make the play, but the ball bounced off his glove.
Konerko was safe, and official scorer Del Black ruled it a base hit, ending Guthrie's no-hit bid.
After the game, Black said there was no doubt in his mind he had made the proper call.
"I saw the shortstop a couple steps back in the grass and felt like he had to hurry the throw a little bit -- it was in the dirt and I called it a hit," Black said. "It was a tough play. One of the things in scoring that you have to take into consideration is the effort and the degree of difficulty, which there was. You might point out that the runner was slow but he still, I thought, hurried the throw and he had to hurry the throw. He had no choice."
The controversial decision held far less significance after Guthrie gave up back-to-back two-out singles in the top of the eighth, but the Royals nonetheless plan to appeal the scoring decision.
Guthrie's teammates were understandably upset that it broke things up for their pitcher.
"That was a difficult play. I can make that play and throw," Escobar said. "Hoz said 'My bad,' but I said 'No, my bad, I can make a better throw.' This happens. I think, for me, it's better to make that an error because I did stay on my feet with the throw, a bad throw from me and they gave him a base hit. In that situation, you might as well give an error, for me or for Hosmer, whatever."
"To me, you've got to flash 'Error' on the board right away," said outfielder Jeff Francoeur. "If you're in any other park, that's an error."
Guthrie, though, was fine with the decision, saying he just wanted a win.
"It's a tough play," Guthrie said. "Him getting to it, he played himself into a chance to get an error or a hit. It went the way the scorer scored it. To me, I was going to go out and make pitches. If it was scored a hit, great. If it was scored an error, great. My goal was to finish out the game with zero runs."
Had Guthrie completed his bid, it would have been the first no-hitter for the Royals since Bret Saberhagen no-hit the White Sox on Aug. 26, 1991.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.