KANSAS CITY, Mo.—It was difficult to tell Ken Griffey Jr. was nervous Friday night by the manner in which he produced in his White Sox debut.
Although admitting he still is adjusting to his new environment, Griffey became an instant hit because he had a pair of two-out RBI singles to help the Sox stay a half-game ahead of Minnesota in the American League Central with a 4-2 victory at Kansas City.
Griffey was much appreciated by White Sox starter Javier Vazquez, who won for the first time since June 17 with six-innings of five-hit ball.
"It's awesome," Vazquez said. "He came up here and already has two RBIs in his first game. We're glad to have him."
Both of Griffey's hits came with two outs and validated manager Ozzie Guillen's crusade for his batters to come through in clutch situations.
"There's no doubt he's going to make our lineup better," Guillen said.
For all the notoriety Griffey has received for his 608 career home runs and 13 All-Star Game selections, he batted in the No. 7 spot and led the way with his timely singles.
In his first at-bat with the Sox, Griffey worked Royals starter Luke Hochevar to a full count before hitting a single into center field to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.
The single extended Griffey's hitting streak to 13 games. Griffey was 14-for-44 (.318) with three home runs in his last 12 games with Cincinnati.
Griffey fueled a three-run sixth with the first of three consecutive Sox singles—all with two outs.
But Griffey said he hadn't ate since 9 p.m. Thursday and said he told teammate Jermaine Dye in the seventh that he still felt nervous.
"I think I'm all right now, but we'll find out [Saturday] morning," Griffey said.
In his second at-bat, Griffey hit a deep drive that fell short of the center-field fence. When he was pulled for pinch-runner Brian Anderson after drawing a walk, he received warm applause from most of the fans who endured humid conditions.
"I'm still nervous," Griffey said.
For all the attention Griffey received, Guillen was just as pleased with his pitching and defense. Juan Uribe got the start over Josh Fields at third base because of his defense and made six putouts in the final three innings.
"I don't know why people in baseball don't like defense," Guillen said. "And people in baseball, they never play the game, they sit upstairs and make computers work. That's the people running this game now, they don't believe in defense.
"Defense makes for better pitching. The reason we played poorly at Minnesota is because we didn't make the plays behind the pitchers. And when you make the plays, obviously the pitching is going to be better. No doubt."