CHICAGO -- Kansas City Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura received a homework assignment immediately after turning in his best performance of the season Sunday afternoon.
"I told him, tomorrow, his duty is to come in and watch every pitch of that ballgame," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Because every pitch that he delivered was phenomenal."
Ventura struck out a season-high 10 batters in seven innings, and the Royals held on for a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. The fiery 25-year-old reined in his emotions in his first outing since appealing a nine-game suspension for his role in Tuesday's brawl with the Baltimore Orioles.
Ventura (5-4) fanned 10-plus batters for the fifth time in his career and first since Oct. 3, 2015, against the Minnesota Twins. He struck out the side in the second inning and again in the sixth. He allowed one run on five hits and walked one.
After the game, Ventura said he refused to allow his pending suspension to be a distraction.
"That's something that happened," Ventura said through a team translator. "It's a decision that they made, and they're going to make, and you've just got to continue to play baseball."
Whit Merrifield finished 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored to lead the Royals at the plate. Salvador Perez added a solo home run as Kansas City (32-30) won its second consecutive game.
The Royals recorded their first series win since May 30-June 1 against Tampa Bay. Kansas City lost eight straight contests before bouncing back to win the final two games of the series against the White Sox.
"We came into this series looking to get some good momentum going home, and we did that," Merrifield said. "(Yordano) is nasty. He's got unbelievable stuff, and when he's putting it where he wants to, like he was today, it's tough on anybody."
Jose Abreu hit a solo home run to provide the only blemish against Ventura. Chicago (31-32) lost for the 14th time in the past 18 games and dropped to 2-7 against the Royals this season.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said his hitters could not garner any sustained rallies against the Royals' right-hander. Chicago hit into three double plays, including two by rookie Tim Anderson.
"Today, we were pretty much offensively challenged by the other guy," Ventura said. "He did seem to be in control. It seemed like any time we got something going, he snuffed it out."
Right-handers Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis pitched scoreless innings out of the bullpen to preserve the win. Davis earned his 17th save in 18 opportunities.
White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon (2-6) limited the Royals to two earned runs on seven hits in six innings. Rodon allowed baserunners in each of his first four innings, but he settled down to retire the final seven batters he faced. He walked two and struck out seven.
"Felt good," Rodon said. "Just glad I was able to go six. (I) just didn't have it for us today."
Kansas City grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a hard-hit single to right-center field by Kendrys Morales. The hit scored Merrifield, who led off the inning with a double down the left-field line.
Merrifield increased the Royals' lead to 2-0 in the second inning when he singled to score Cheslor Cuthbert. White Sox catcher Alex Avila prevented further damage by throwing out two runners during the inning.
The White Sox sliced the deficit to 2-1 in the sixth inning on Abreu's home run to straightaway center field. Abreu ripped a belt-high fastball an estimated 418 feet for his eighth home run of the season.
Perez made it 3-1 in the ninth inning with a line-drive home run that landed in the White Sox bullpen.
"We ended a (losing) streak, and now we're starting a (winning) streak," Yost said. "You just keep looking at the positives."
NOTES: Royals RHP Yordano Ventura made his 13th start of the season while he is appealing a nine-game suspension for his role in a brawl with the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. Ventura set off the skirmish when he hit Orioles 3B Manny Machado in the back with a 99-mph fastball. ... White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon started on nine days' rest after skipping his previous outing with discomfort in his neck. ... Royals 2B Omar Infante was held out of the starting lineup for the ninth consecutive game. Infante, 34, entered Sunday's contest hitting .239 with no home runs and 11 RBIs in 39 games. ... White Sox OF Melky Cabrera served as the team's designated hitter for the third time this season. Reserve OF J.B. Shuck started in Cabrera's usual spot in left field.