Just when it looked like the Kansas City Royals were destined to fade quietly into the night, the offense mounted a furious rally. Unfortunately, it came up short as the Chicago White Sox hung on for their second consecutive 7-6 victory.
The game got off to a rough start for the Royals. Conor Gillaspie had a two out triple in the top of the first, scoring on a base hit to center by Dayan Viciedo to take an early 1-0 lead. Kansas City managed to fight back in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of some early wildness from White Sox starter Andre Rienzo. A walk and a hit batter put runners on first and second, bringing up Danny Valencia with one out. Valencia, who may be getting more playing time in the near future, made his case to be the starting third baseman, hitting a double to deep right center to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.
With Yordano Ventura on the mound, such a lead, as tenuous as it may normally be, seemed safe. However, as Rienzo also settled in, the game quickly turned into a contest of which pitcher would be able to limit their mistakes. As it turned out, Ventura cracked first.
Tyler Flowers got the White Sox offense going in the top of the fifth. With one out and a 3-2 count, Flowers belted a hanging curve deep to left, crushing a no doubt home run to tie the game. Adam Eaton followed with a double, and Ventura completely lost his command. A wild pitch and a base hit brought in Eaton as the White Sox took the lead. A ground out and two more wild pitches allowed Gordon Beckham to score, as the White Sox took a 4-2 lead.
That score held up until the top of the eighth. Aaron Crow, who had not allowed an earned run in his previous 20 appearances before Sunday, once again had a rough outing. Beckham and Gillaspie led off the top of the eighth with consecutive base hits, putting runners on first and second. One out later, Adam Dunn crushed Crow’s 2-2 offering, hammering the ball to center for a three run home run to give the White Sox a 7-2 lead. With the state of the Royals offense, it seemed as though the game may be over.
However, the Royals were not about to be denied. Facing a White Sox bullpen that ranked 24th with a 1.40 WHiP heading into tonight’s game, the Royals offense started to come to life. Eric Hosmer doubled to lead off the bottom of the inning. After Billy Butler walked, a passed ball moved the runners to second and third. Hosmer scored on a groundout, and Lorenzo Cain drove Butler in with a base hit. Cain then manufactured a run almost on his own, stealing second and third before scoring on a wild pitch. Pedro Ciriaco singled to give the Royals runners at the corners with one out, but Zach Putnam was able to escape the inning without further damage.
The Royals had one last chance in the ninth. With two out, Butler doubled to deep right field, scoring on Alex Gordon‘s base hit. Pinch runner Jarrod Dyson stole second, meaning that a base hit would likely tie the game. However, Ronald Belisario struck out Cain on three pitches to end the game and preserve the White Sox 7-6 victory.
Yordano Ventura took the loss, allowing four earned runs on seven hits, striking out three over his six innings of work. Valencia was 2-3 with a double, a walk and two RBIs.