On the heels of a walk-off victory over Cleveland, the Royals hit the road for the second time this season. Stomping into the south side of Chicago to take on the White Sox, Kansas City was greeted by an old friend. 36-year-old Ervin Santana, who pitched for the Royals in 2013, took his 17.13 ERA in hopes of halting the win streak at three. For Kansas City, Heath Fillmyer took the mound in hopes of bouncing back after failing to work further than four innings last Wednesday against Seattle.
Although Scott Barlow worked two solid innings of relief, Brad Boxberger managed to give up the lead for the fourth time this season. Failing to hold the one-run lead, the Royals dropped game one to their rival, 5-4.
Following two clean innings from both sides, the visitors’ bats struck first and loud in the top of the second. Starting things off with Hunter Dozier, who came in 10 for his last 20, the third basemen parked a solo home run into the seats in left-center to open up the scoring. Three batters later, Chris Owings knocked his first home run as a Royal just above the fence in right-center field, giving Kansas City a quick 3-0 advantage.
For Heath Fillmyer, it was smooth sailing for the first 4 ⅓ innings. Unfortunately, a handful of fantastic defense plays were overturned in the White Sox favor, allowing them to plate three runs in the fifth in a 25-minute half inning. Erasing the Royals lead and chasing Fillmyer out after five innings of work, Kansas City turned to Scott Barlow to keep it tied for the time being. Unlike numerous members of the bullpen-Barlow worked two scoreless frames-tallying four strikeouts in total.
Similar to their glory days, the Royals reclaimed the lead with the act of small ball. Notching their fourth run on a Whit Merrifield SAC-fly in the top of the seventh, the bullpen was asked once again to hold the lead. Putting faith in Boxberger and his sky-high ERA, Kansas City paid for it in the worst of ways. Allowing a leadoff double to Tim Anderson, Boxberger immediately surrendered the lead to a .073 hitter in Castillo on a two-run bomb into the right-field bullpen.
The top of the ninth witnessed a spark after Chris Owings drew a leadoff walk, but Soler and Hamilton struck out on six pitches and Merrifield lined out softly to second. The blown game was the seventh on the year for the Royals. Tomorrow, they will turn to Jorge Lopez to avoid losing the series. The White Sox will counter with Reynaldo Lopez, who Kansas City faced back on March 30th. First pitch is set for 7:10 CT.