Even if the Royals aren't going to make the playoffs, it was nice to see the team put together a good beginning-to-end baseball game.
On Saturday night, Kansas City clipped its five game winning streak by beating the Chicago White Sox, 3-2.
Jason Vargas, pitching for the first time since July 21 of last year, battled back after a shaky first inning. Making his return from Tommy John surgery, Vargas allowed a first-inning run on an RBI single by Melky Cabrera. After that, he retired eight of the final nine hitters he faced.
It was a successful return in his first pitching performance in 14 months. Vargas' final line: 3.0 innings (52 pitches), two hits, one walk, and one strikeout.
The Royals matched the White Sox' first inning run when Jarrod Dyson and Whit Merrfield reached on singles to open the game. They advanced up a base on a double steal, and Dyson was plated on a sacrifice fly by Kendrys Morales.
The tie held for several innings, as Vargas and then Dillon Gee matched Chicago starter Miguel Gonzalez pitch-for-pitch. It wasn't until the fifth inning when one of the pitchers blinked, and fortunately for the Royals, it was Gonzalez. Alcides Escobar led off the frame with a triple into the right-field corner, and he scored on an RBI single by Hunter Dozier. After a single by Dyson, Eric Hosmer grounded another RBI single right back up the middle, plating Dozier and extending the lead to 3-1.
Gee, by the way, was fantastic. He handled the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings with ease. He also got the first out of the eighth before allowing back-to-back singles, and Ned Yost lifted him there for Joakim Soria. Gee bridged the gap from early innings to back-end-of-the-bullpen innings. His line: 4.1 innings, five hits, and two strikeouts. He also earned the win in relief, improving his record to 7-8.
Soria, who was booed heavily upon entering from the bullpen, allowed an RBI double to Avisail Garcia, but it was one of the most unlucky plays you'll ever see. I mean it this time. Garcia hit a ground ball right to Cheslor Cuthbert, but the ball hit the corner of the bag, causing it to roll towards the left-field corner. It wasn't Soria's fault, but the run was charged to Gee. With everyone in the stands on their toes, Soria got J.B. Shuck to groundout and end the threat.
Wade Davis finally got a save opportunity, and he converted it by pitching a scoreless ninth. He struck out all three batters he faced. It doesn't seem like it, but it was his 25th save of the year.
Miguel Gonzalez pitched well, but he dropped to 0-3 in three career starts at Kauffman Stadium. His line: 7.0 innings, six hits, three runs, and two strikeouts. He is 4-7.
Oh yeah, Ned Yost won his 1,000th game as an MLB manager! He is the 62nd man in history to accomplish that feat. Congrats to Edgar! 543 of those are with the Royals. That's a lot of wins.
The Royals are 73-71. They barely stay above .500.
Oh yeah, and just in case you missed it, Chien-Ming Wang was designated for assignment earlier to make room on the roster for Vargas. We'll always remember his 6-0 record.
Up next: the series continues tomorrow with a good pitching matchup - Danny Duffy opposes Jose Quintana in a battle of left-handed starters. When you're not watching the Chiefs beat the Texans for the third time in 12 months, you can watch the ace of the Royals staff! Sounds like a good Sunday to me.