Entering Friday night with a six-game losing streak hanging over their head, the Royals welcomed their brawling buddies from the Southside for a three-game set. Setting up a rematch from last weeks rain delay game, Kansas City started Homer Bailey while the White Sox went with Iván Nova. Trading runs late, the Royals came out on top by a score of 6-4.
As both right-handed pitchers have struggled in the first season with their respective clubs, sporting earned run averages above six, the thought of a pitchers duel didn’t seem fitting as the likely outcome. Only for the first two innings, the offenses remained cool without much activity on the basepaths.
Fast forward to the top of the third, Chicago struck first on a ringing RBI-double off the bat of catcher James McCann. Sending the ball deep into the gap in left-center, the White Sox plated two and took a brief 2-0 lead in the early-going. In the bottom half, the Royals responded with some base hits of their own. Facing two outs and a runner standing on third base, Whit Merrifield wouldn’t let his poor performance with runners on in the Boston series dictate this at-bat. Dropping a ball perfectly into right-field, Nicky Lopez trotted home to score Kansas City’s first run of the night.
There the score stood pat for two and a half innings. Trailing by one run heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Royals led off with a slow roller to “Don’t give a (expletive)” Tim Anderson at shortstop. Bobbling the transfer, Merrifield reached first safely. Alex Gordon followed up with a single to beat the shift on the left side of second base. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Adalberto Mondesi knocked his second hit of the night down the right field line to score the tying run on a double. Still with nobody out, Nova was bounced from the game. Sending former K-State Wildcat Evan Marshall on for relief, the righty managed to sit down Jorge Soler on strikes but walked O’Hearn after being ahead 0-2 in the count. Walking up with the bases juiced, red-hot Cheslor Cuthbert kept on swinging the magicstick. Ripping a single to the opposite field, both Merrifield and Mondesi came around to score and gave Kansas City a 4-2 advantage.
Hoping to squeeze at least one batter out of Homer Bailey in the top of the seventh, the White Sox quickly led off with a double by Tim Anderson. His six-plus innings of work would be it for the Royals starter as Brad Boxberger was called on to protect the slim two-run cushion. Allowing Anderson to score on a fielders choice and surrendering a bloop-double by Yoan Moncada to push across another run, Boxberger couldn’t record that final out before the game was tied.
However, Kansas City came roaring back once again. With a runner at second and two outs, Mondesi came up clutch for the second time at the dish. Returning the favor on a soft contact single, the Royals reclaimed the lead at 5-4. On the ensuing at-bat, Soler smashed a double with Mondesi running into the left field corner to make it 6-4.
Jake Diekman and Ian Kennedy worked scoreless innings as Kansas City not only snapped the losing streak, but now just sit one win away from the first series win in almost two months. Tomorrow, the Sox and Royals will go head to head in the afternoon at 1:15 CT. Brad Keller will go for the Boys in Blue while Chicago will counter with Lucas Giolito.