The difference in this one came down to the new guys. In a 4-2 escape of the White Sox in the first game of the series, all four runs the Royals scored came off the bats of Ryan O’Hearn and Brett Phillips.
Old friend James Shields had a decent performance in this one, one that would have been terrific if he kept two pitches in the ballpark. He rattled off seven innings of four-run ball, striking out eight (which is pretty impressive for him) and walking three.
After allowing one baserunner through three innings, Jorge Bonifacio would reach with one out in the fourth, bringing the recently called up Ryan O’Hearn for his second major league plate appearance. After working a couple pitches, he would get under one with enough strength to yank it over the right field fence, homering for his major league hit.
Fast-forward to the seventh with Brett Phillips at the plate, still looking for his first hit as a Royal. With O’Hearn on first after a walk, Phillips would crush a ball near the same spot O’Hearn hit his home run, also homering for his first hit in a Royals uniform. This would additionally be his first home run of the 2018 season.
Kevin McCarthy looked like he was getting close to working around a leadoff double, getting the next two outs without the runner advancing, but Matt “Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds” Davidson would slug his sixteenth home run of the season and his eighth against the Royals.
Jason Hammel would make things dicey the following inning, putting runners on first and third with nobody out. But a strikeout, pop out, and another strikeout would give him the scoreless frame, gaining his first hold of the season.
Wily Peralta would work around two walks in the ninth with the help of a double play, striking out the last batter to seal the win.
Same time, same place, same guys tomorrow. Jake Junis, coming off a rough start at Yankee Stradium, will duel it out with Dylan Covey.