- Ian Kennedy’s performance was decent
- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was ejected in the first inning
- The Royals were incredibly aggressive against Jose Quintana
- Alcides Escobar was intentionally walked...twice
Well, it took 14 innings, but the Royals finally managed to walk off against the White Sox using a little bit of small ball. Christian Colon singled to start the inning and moved to second on a bunt from Paulo Orlando. Lorenzo Cain then hit a sinking line drive to center field; it dropped in front of J.B. Shuck, and Colon scored.
A sudden lack of bullpen depth is one of the myriad things dooming the Royals, but not on this night. Though only one reliever actually gave up a run, Chris Young, Kelvin Herrera, Joakim Soria, and Chien-Ming Wang all allowed baserunners in the late innings. Eventually, one was bound to score. However, only one run scored. Dillon Gee was quite excellent in his two innings of work.
A sudden inability to make contact is one of the myriad things dooming the Royals, but thankfully the Royals still ended up with the W on this night. Though the Royals had the winning runner on third base with no outs in the bottom of the 13th inning, the Royals struck out three straight times to get absolutely nothing. It's taking every ounce of restraint I have not to slam my fists into the keyboard to produce unintelligible slander and curses. A win helps.
At least a starting rotation suddenly lacking run-prevention ability did not doom the Royals. This was, more or less, the Ian Kennedy that the Royals thought they were signing during the offseason. The only mistake he made, a rather egregious one, was leaving a 2-0 fastball over the middle of the plate in the third inning against J.B. Shuck. On a 2-0 count, every hitter everywhere is looking for a fastball over the plate. Shuck didn’t miss it.
That was, however, the only run Kennedy allowed in six and a third innings. That was not for lack of trying right at the end.
After a lengthy review in the top of the seventh inning, in which probably 16 gold medals were won, the umpires ruled that Paulo Orlando’s strike of a throw and Salvador Perez’s iffy tag on Omar Narvaez’s iffy touch of home plate was enough for an out. That kept the score 1-0 and kept Kennedy’s ledger just a little bit cleaner. The review was long enough that the Royals exchanged Brian Flynn for Peter Moylan, who made quick work of Tim Anderson to stave off a scoring threat.
Similarly, Chris Young allowed multiple baserunners in the eighth inning, but he sandwiched them around enough outs for the White Sox not to score.
For their part, the Royals offense wasn't doing anything against Jose Quintana. He threw 97 pitches in seven and one third innings, but that betrays what happened. Early in the game, for six straight batters the count never featured a ball. That was due in part to Quintana, who is a really good pitcher, but also because the Royals came up hacking.
Paulo Orlando worked a full count to begin the game, but the Royals did not see another three-ball plate appearance until the last batter of the fourth inning. Alex Gordon led off the fifth with a walk, but all three batters behind him never saw a ball. Ridiculous. Obscenities. Cursing. The number of low and away dirt sliders at which the Royals offered tonight was frustrating. They seemingly couldn't lay off anything, no matter how far away from this plane of existence.
The Royals finally broke through in the eighth inning. A double by Orlando led Robin Ventura to remove Quintana in favor of Nate Jones. Cheslor Cuthbert was up next and hit a double in the right-center field gap, which scored Orlando to tie the game.
The White Sox threatened in the ninth inning but TOOTBLAN'ed their way out of it. Kelvin Herrera allowed a single to start the inning, and Tyler Saladino hit a deep fly ball to center field. Orlando was there in plenty of time, and for some reason Carlos Sanchez decided to tag up and run for second base. He was thrown out. Alex Gordon got the final out of the inning by doing his thing - kind of almost blowing a bubble while diving to catch a ball.
That meant the score was tied heading into the bottom of the ninth. Kendrys Morales led off with a single and was promptly removed for Jarrod Dyson. Obviously Dyson was going to attempt a steal of second, but the White Sox were ready for it. They pitched out and got Dyson. Perez then swung at a pitch that was located roughly at the right cleat of the catcher before grounding out. With two outs, Gordon hit a double in the gap. THEN THEY INTENTIONALLY WALKED ALCIDES ESCOBAR. Raul Mondesi, the next hitter, is no Babe Ruth, but Escobar has proven himself to be a remarkably poor hitter. Something something recency bias. Mondesi struck out anyway because he couldn't lay off a few inside sliders.
Joakim Soria allowed several baserunners in the 10th inning but fended off runs similar to how Chris Young did. Sandwiched just enough outs around the baserunners.
The predictable happened in the 11th as Chien-Ming Wang took the mound. He allowed a leadoff single to Todd Frazier, who moved to second on a walk. On a grounder to the left side, Frazier took off for third. Escobar chose not to go for the out at third and went to first instead. Anderson then blooped a single over Hosmer to score Frazier to make the score 2-1.
The White Sox put David Robertson in to close out the game, but he failed to do so. He walked Hosmer, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dyson, and allowed a double to Perez. Hosmer scored on the double, and then Billy Burns pinch-ran for Perez. THEN THEY INTENTIONALLY WALKED ESCOBAR AGAIN. This time, Ned Yost pinch-hit for Mondesi; he put in Christian Colon. Colon couldn't bring in the run, and so the game stayed tied at the end of the 11th.
As mentioned before, the Royals had a chance to walk off in the 13th and failed. They took advantage of their second chance in the 14th. Walkoff. Somehow those two intentional walks to Escobar ended up not mattering.