KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The White Sox's scoreless drought ended after 11 innings.
But their winless drought is still alive.
Mark Buehrle and Bartolo Colon started against the unheraldedand that's putting it nicelycombo of Runelvys Hernandez and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt.
"I don't expect Ace 1 and Ace 2 to win every game they pitch," Manuel said after the Sox's 5-4 loss Wednesday to the Royals. "What I expect is for them to give us a shot. We'll get those two out of the way now and let them win 19 straight."
The Sox's confidence clearly remained unshaken.
"Two games don't mean anything," Colon said through translator/first-base coach Rafael Santana.
"We'll be fine," said shortstop Tony Graffanino, who played a pivotal role Wednesday.
Graffanino started in place of Jose Valentin, a switch-hitter who batted just .152 against lefties last year.
Graffanino went 3-for-5 with a double but couldn't come through in the ninth with none out and the tying runner at first.
Facing Mike MacDougal, the Royals' hard-throwing and erratic closer, Graffanino attempted a sacrifice bunt with the count at 3-2.
"That's something he took upon himself and chose to do," Manuel said.
Graffanino couldn't connect with the mid-90s, tailing fastball.
"Anybody who throws firm is probably harder to bunt against," Graffanino said, "but you still have to get it down."
Frank Thomas then grounded into a double play to end the game, drawing cheers from the modest Kauffman Stadium crowd of 10,429.
"That pitch was 97 (m.p.h.) in on the hands," he said. "He ate me up with that one."
Thomas has reached base a team-high five times this season. That's five more than center fielder Aaron Rowand and four more than left fielder Carlos Lee, who has struck out four times in six official at-bats.
"We have some guys who aren't quite there swinging the bat," Manuel said of a group that torched the Cactus League, with seven of their starters hitting .306 or higher.
Manuel could alter his lineup Thursday against right-hander Miguel Asencio by using Armando Rios instead Rowand or Lee. Rios singled in a run Wednesday as a pinch-hitter.
The game was tied 3-3 until the seventh when Rick White replaced Colon.
Angel Berroa led off with a grounder to short. Graffanino's throw was low, and Paul Konerko could not make the scoop.
With one out, third baseman Joe Randa ripped White's 0-1 pitch over the center-field wall, giving the Royals a 5-3 lead.
Manuel is ready for the team's first win.
"The [starting] gun has gone off," he said. "We're just a little late coming out of the blocks. Everybody's running. We're still stretching."