It is not every day that an extra innings victory can feel anti-climactic, but given the fireworks at the end of the seventh innings, this one certainly did. Instead of being remembered for Eric Hosmer‘s two out RBI double in the 13th inning, the game will be remembered for a legitimate brawl between the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox.
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Facing off against the White Sox ace Chris Sale, the Royals got on the board early. Sale clearly did not have his best stuff early on, loading the bases with one out in the first. Kendrys Morales gave the Royals an early 2-0 lead with a base hit, but Sale was able to settle in at that point, escaping further damage.
Yordano Ventura was keeping the White Sox off balance through the first three innings, striking out five in the chilly Chicago evening. The White Sox finally got to him in the fourth. Jose Abreu was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and moved to second on a base hit. A fielder’s choice put runners at the corners, but a grounder to first that resulted in Abreu being gunned down at home appeared to be able to get Ventura out of the jam. Unfortunately, it was only a brief reprieve, as Alexi Ramirez blooped a base hit to right to give the White Sox their first run of the evening.
Tensions began to mount at the top of the fifth. With two outs, Sale hit Mike Moustakas on an 0-2 pitch, certainly not the moment that someone would be looking to drill a batter. In the bottom of the inning, consecutive two out doubles by Melky Cabrera and Abreu tied the game at 2-2.
Then, in the bottom of the seventh, all hell broke loose. Adam Eaton hit a comebacker to the mound, leading to him and Ventura exchanging words, including a profanity or two from Ventura, before recording the final out of the inning. Both players were restrained from going after each other, but that was enough to touch off a benches clearing brawl that actually involved punches being thrown. In the end, both Sale and Ventura were ejected, as were Edinson Volquez, Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Samardzija. Chances are, we will be hearing about a suspension for Ventura, at the very least, in the next day or so.
The White Sox had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth, putting runners on the corners with one out. However, Kelvin Herrera, who is appealing his own suspension, struck out Avisail Garcia and Conor Gillaspie to end the threat.
Each team had a chance to score in extra innings, but the game remained knotted at 2-2 until the top of the thirteenth. With one out, Moustakas singled, but was erased at second by a fielder’s choice, putting Jarrod Dyson on the basepaths. This proved to be fortuitous for the Royals, as Eric Hosmer doubled to right, plating Dyson to give the Royals the lead once again.
Wade Davis gave up a single in the bottom of the inning, but nailed down the final three outs to give the Royals the 3-2 victory, and the best record in the American League. Franklin Morales earned the win with a perfect twelfth, striking out one. Moustakas was 3-5 in the victory.