The Royals were looking for just their second sweep of the year, which would be even more important since it would come against the first place Chicago White Sox. Instead, they fell just a few runs short, falling 3-2 to Carlos Rodon on Sunday afternoon. Despite another terrific performance by Paulo Orlando, the Royals offense managed just eight hits - seven of them singles. Orlando and Lorenzo Cain each had a pair of hits to continue their torrid hitting. Yordano Ventura had mixed results and failed to put a few hitters away, but ultimately had a "Quality Start" to leave the team in the game.
The Royals started up the singles train in the second inning, collecting four hits, but managing just one run. Eric Hosmer led off with a single, followed by a Salvador Perez hit. But Alex Gordon would ground out into a 4-6-3 double play to leave a runner at third. Paulo Orlando would pick him up with an RBI single to give the Royals an early 1-0 lead. Omar Infante would also an add a single, threatening for more runs before Drew Butera grounded out to end the inning.
Yordano Ventura was sharp until the fourth when Todd Frazier led off the inning with his thirteenth home run of the year. Melky Cabrera followed a double, but Yo would strand him at second by inducing a groundout by Jerry Sands, a foul out by Brett Lawrie, and a fly out by Carlos Sanchez. He ran into more trouble in the fifth by opening the inning with a lead off walk to Alex Avila. The White Sox would load the bases for Melky Cabrera, who lined a two-run single on an 0-2 pitch up the middle to make it 3-1 White Sox.
The Royals got one of those runs back in the sixth off Rodon. Alex Gordon led off with a single, followed by a double by the red-hot Paulo Orlando. Orlando had two hits on the day and is hitting .519/.552/.852 over his last ten games. Omar Infante would drive a fly ball to deep right to score Gordon with a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 3-2.
Ventura again ran into trouble in the sixth by allowing a lead off double to Brett Lawrie. He would advance to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Ventura would get a huge strike out of Alex Avila to reduce the threat. It took a terrific running catch by Paulo Orlando on a ball hit by Austin Jackson to end the threat. Ventura had ups and downs, giving up two runs in six innings with four walks and three strikeouts.
Luke Hochevar allowed a hit in the seventh, but kept the White Sox scoreless. The biggest worry, however, came on a foul ball down the line hit by Melky Cabrera. Both Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon pursued it, leading to a collision that left Gordon on the ground for a few second. Upon replay, it looked like the pair just knocked knees and both stayed in the game, although Gordon would depart the next inning.
Gordon sat like this for at least 10 seconds it seemed. That's scary. pic.twitter.com/wrbpZNHG9M— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) May 22, 2016
The White Sox bullpen has been quite good this year, posting one of the better ERAs among relief staffs, and they kept the Royals silent in the late innings, retiring the last seven hitters of the game. Kendrys Morales made an appearance as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, but struck out to end the game.
The Royals drop the final game, but overall have to feel very good about their play in this series and for the week. They have made up a lot of ground on the White Sox the last two weeks, and if they can build upon their performance, they could gain even more ground next week, beginning tomorrow against the lowly Twins.
Update on Alex Gordon:
Alex Gordon is day to day with a "right wrist sprain", per a Royals official. He passed all the concussion tests.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) May 22, 2016