Five-year-olds may not remember it, but Alex Gordon used to be awesome.
For a five-year stretch from 2011 to 2015, Gordon was a top-ten player in all of Major League Baseball. During that time, he received MVP votes in two separate seasons, won four Gold Gloves for his stellar work in left field, and was elected an All-Star thrice. He has a collection of iconic hits in Royals history, most notably his game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. You know, only the kind of thing kids dream about doing.
In the years since that World Series win, Gordon’s production, like the team’s overall performance, has waned. He’s still Alex Gordon and everyone still loves him, but tonight Alex Gordon turned into ALEX GORDON, the vintage awesome one. Gordon hit a double, a home run, and walked in tonight’s contest, knocking in four of the ten runs scored by the Kansas City Royals in their 10-5 defeat of the Chicago White Sox.
It wasn’t a one-man show, either. The Royals piled on the baserunners, banging ten hits and walking five times. By the end of the night, every Royals hitter but Escobar had a hit (because of course he didn’t), and every Royal got to run the bases at least once.
Kansas City’s biggest inning was the fifth. Ahead 3-1 and with one out, Whit Merrifield kickstarted the party. Merrifield singled and promptly stole second base, the empty first immediately filled by Gordon on a walk. Salvador Perez hit a ground ball, but one of many Yoan Moncada’s errors tonight allowed Merrifield to score and put runners at the corners. Lucas Duda knocked Gordon in and knocked White Sox starter Dylan Covey out of the game with an opposite-field RBI single.
However, the new pitcher, Xavier Cedeno, couldn’t stop the bleeding. Rosell Herrera uncorked a ground rule double on a line drive to left field, and then Brett Phillips pulled a line drive himself. To add insult to injury, Cedeno capped the inning’s scoring off with a wild pitch that allowed Phillips to score. After the dust settled, Kansas City saw an additional five runs go up on the scoreboard.
On the pitching front, Jake Junis was pretty good through five innings before his command failed him in the sixth. Junis walked three in the inning—one of which the dreaded bases-loaded variety—and allowed a pair of singles to cough up three runs. Brian Flynn managed to exctricate Junis from the sticky situation and notched the final out without trouble. Junis’ final line: 5.2 innings, six hits, four runs, three walks, five strikeouts. It was the kind of start that would have looked a lot better if Ned Yost had better relief arms to turn to earlier, because allowing Junis to bumble around with the bases loaded was still probably better than the alternative.
By then, the Royals offense had dried up, and not even Brandon Maurer could give up five runs in an inning to close out the night. The final score: 10-5, Royals.
Kansas City is 34-73. They will look for a sweep tomorrow afternoon and then will continue their American League Central jaunt to Minnesota for a three-game set against the Twins.