For so many years, the Royals were kings of extra-inning affairs because of a shutdown bullpen. It may not have been “shutdown,” but on Wednesday, the bullpen kept them in the game just long enough for the offense to come through.
The Royals salvaged a sweep of the White Sox by defeating Chicago, 4-3. There was extra-inning magic. The bullpen did its job. There really weren’t any big screw-ups. It was amazing!
Oh yeah, and there was a fight!
So Tim Anderson hit a two-run homer off Brad Keller in the fourth inning. It was a big bomb. He admired it and fired his bat back in the direction of the White Sox dugout, which was awesome. He also jawed a bit with Martin Maldonado. Everybody in the entire world knew that when Anderson came back up, he was going to wear one. That’s exactly what happened, as Keller beaned him in the back with a low-90s fastball. Anderson seemed to be ok with it, as he and Maldonado were talking and patting each other on the chest and what not, but the benches cleared anyway and then a managers fight almost broke out. Ned Yost got right in the face of Rick Renteria. It was funny.
Here’s my thinking. It’s fine to pimp home runs. Bat flips are fun. Everybody should feel that way. But if you bat flip, especially in the manner that Anderson did, you have to be prepared to get beaned. That’s just the way this sport works. I don’t really think either team was in the wrong. If I was a White Sox fan, I’d love the bat flip. Because I’m a Royals fan, I love how Keller threw at him. These teams aren’t supposed to like each other, anyway.
The Royals did get things going, as Alex Gordon had a two-run single to tie the score in the fifth, and Hunter Dozier came through with a two-run, RBI-single in the seventh to put Kansas City ahead 3-2. The White Sox tied the game in the eighth, but the Royals’ bullpen, all things considered, did alright. They escaped a second-and-third, no-outs jam in the seventh, and they got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth by just allowing the one. Wily Peralta walked the tightrope in the ninth, but he got out of it to send the contest to extras.
That’s when Dozier stepped up, on the first at-bat of extra innings, and hammered a 2-0 pitch into the left-field bullpen. He continues to be hotter than a firecracker. That’s five homers on the season. Scott Barlow got the save by working a scoreless 10th inning.
Peralta got the win. Nate Jones took the loss. Keller logged 5.0 innings of work and gave up four hits and two runs. His ERA through four games is 2.64.
One out of three in the series. Kansas City is 6-12.
Up next: the Royals head to the Bronx for four games with the New York Yankees. First pitch of game one is tomorrow night at 5:30 pm CDT.