Brad Keller gutted his way through six innings after a rough start and the offense came up with six runs on 13 hits as the Royals completed their second series sweep of the year in a 6-5 win over Chicago on a sweltering Thursday afternoon. Cheslor Cuthbert paced the offense with a single, double, and his sixth home run of the season, as the Royals have won six of seven since the All-Star break.
It looked like it might be a long day for the Royals when the White Sox jumped on Keller for two runs in the opening frame. The first two hitters singled, and an error by Cuthbert allowed the first run to score. Keller walked A.J. Reed to load the bases, but then induced Welington Castillo to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. That would score the second run, but got Keller closer to getting out of the jam. Jon Jay struck out to end the inning and limit the bleeding to a 2-0 deficit.
Yoan Moncada made it a 3-0 game wiht a solo home run in the top of the third, but the Royals came back with a vengeance in the bottom of the inning. Cuthbert led off with a solo home run to left-center off White Sox starter Ross Detwiler to begin the inning. Hunter Dozier lined a single up the middle and Jorge Soler made it hurt, smacking a pitch the opposite way over the right field wall for his 26th home run of the year.
The game now tied, Humberto Arteaga started a new rally with a single. Bubba Starling tapped a grounder that rolled for an infield single, and Detwiler hit Cam Gallagher with a pitch to load the bases. A Billy Hamilton two-run single would put the Royals in the lead, 5-3.
Bubba Starling collected his first extra base hit of the season with a double off Jose Ruiz to lead off the fifth. A sacrifice by Nicky Lopez and a bunt single by Cam Gallagher would score him to make it 6-3. Bubba would enjoy his best offensive performance in the Majors so far, reaching base three times with a single, double, and a walk. Whit Merrifield would go hitless in five tries, however, ending his hitting streak at 15 games.
Keller paced himself in the blistering sun and pitched into the seventh inning for the ninth time this season. He was lifted after a one out single by Jose Abreu to give him a final line of 6 1⁄3 innings pitched, nine hits allowed, four runs (two earned), two walks, and seven strikeouts. Ian Kennedy had a shaky ninth, giving up a run to close the deficit to 6-5, but still picked up his 16th save.
The Royals pick up their second series sweep of the season, and first four-game sweep of the year. The begin a three-game series in Cleveland tomorrow, part of a five-game road trip that will also take them to Atlanta.