It was a lazy afternoon at the ballpark for much of the day, as both offenses slept as the pitchers did their work. The Kansas City offense, though, did all they could to prevent scoring. In the first inning, Lorenzo Cain led off with a double. With a fast runner in scoring position with the heart of the Royals' lineup coming up, Ned Yost decided to sac bunt him to third base because reasons. Eric Hosmer continued the small ball by scoring Cain on a fly ball, making the score 1-0 Royals, except now there were two outs. A Salvador Perez lineout would cause the inning to end with no further damage.
Earlier in the morning, the Royals held another players only meeting. Hearing veteran Billy Butler was not to be in the lineup, instead replaced by lefty-masher Danny Valencia, the Royals decided to keep Butler in the game in spirit. Silence enveloped the room as ideas percolated until Bruce Chen spoke up. "Uh, guys," he said, "you should hit lots of ground balls, preferably with a few double plays, and get a bunch of singles." The group chanted 'Be Royal!' three times and left the meeting energized. The Royals managed the amazing feat of hitting into a double play in three consecutive innings from the second through the fourth, twice by Butler proxy Valencia. White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana was not terribly overpowering, only striking out a trio of Royals, but when a team is as hell-bent on shooting itself in the foot, there's not much you can do to overcome that.
On the KC pitching side of things, James Shields was excellent, delivering the kind of performance for which he was acquired. Shields went 7 innings, scattering 6 hits and a walk while delivering 7 strikeouts to the Chicago players. The only run scored by Chicago came in the first innings by back-to-back hits by Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn, but that was enough to tie the game and keep it that way through the better part of the game.
In the 8th inning a flurry of managerial moves brought the denizens of The Cell to their feet in anticipation (note: this did not happen). Eric Hosmer's hitting streak ended as Yost inexplicably removed Hosmer as he was walking to the batter's box to put in Butler. Chicago relief pitcher Ronald Belisario threw a fastball which got away from him and hit Butler in the shoulder. Salvador Perez came up next, because Alex Gordon isn't good enough to bat fourth, and moved the runners to second and third. Despite Gordon's apparent inability to hit the baseball, the White Sox, stunningly, decided to intentionally walk him to get to Valencia. Yost, chess master, brought in Raul Ibanez to face the righty in place of Ventura, but Robin Ventura, chass masterer, countered with LOOGY Eric Surkamp. Surkamp induced a popup on three pitches and the Royals continued to litter the bases with runners without picking up after themselves.
After a typical Wade Davis performance, Mike Moustakas squeezed a ball through the shift for yet another leadoff single. With Alcides Escobar at the plate, another sac bunt was called and successfully executed, which placed Moose at second base with one out. Aoki doinked a single to center field, and Adam Eaton threw to home plate. Moustakas would have been out by a mile, but Tyler Flowers did not protect the ball, and Moustakas' right knee forced the ball out from the glove. 2-1 Royals. Later that inning, the Royals executed a double steal, and the Sox intentionally walked Omar Infante, bringing up Butler again.
Of course, Butler hit into a double play to end the inning
Fortunately, closer Greg Holland does not care how many double plays are hit into by his team, and radiated pure filth to strike out the first two batters and force the third to roll a weak grounder in front of the mound. Perez and Butler combined for a nice play, and game over. Royals take 2 of 3 from the White Sox and claw their way back to an even record.
This upcoming series against Cleveland is crucial. Kansas City either needs to sweep or be swept, as any other result merely continues the excruciating purgatory that is .500 baseball, which is the worst result that can happen for these Royals, who currently stand 50-50 after 100 games.