September has been the Royals’ best month of the year by wins, and it’s also featured one of their biggest power surges.
That continued on Wednesday night, as Kansas City beat the Chicago White Sox, 8-6, to even a three-game series.
Jorge Soler opened the scoring with a two-run homer that just got over the left-center wall. It was his 42nd homer of the year. The White Sox immediately took the lead in the bottom of the first, as Eloy Jimenez hit a three-run bomb off Glenn Sparkman.
This wound up being the only mistake from Sparkman, who got through five innings having only allowed the three runs. It’s been a rough second half for him since shutting out these White Sox. Wednesday was a nice step in the right direction for him.
Adalberto Mondesi (9) cranked a two-run shot in the third to give the Royals their lead back. Bubba Starling (4) hit one into the bleachers in center field in the fourth. Ryan O’Hearn, who has absolutely torn the cover off the ball this month, clobbered another homer (12) to dead center field. O’Hearn has hit six homers in his last 15 games. Through five innings, the Royals led, 6-3.
Following an RBI groundout that plated a run for the White Sox, Soler came up in the eighth and hit a 439-foot moonshot to center field for No. 43. It was a two-run shot that wound up being the difference in the game, because Chicago got those two runs right back in the home half on a homer by Jose Abreu.
Now up to 43 home runs on the year, Soler continues to distance himself from all others as the Royals’ all-time home run king. 45+ seems, barring injury, inevitable.
Jesse Hahn came in and screwed up some stuff in the eighth; a frame that began with a four-run lead saw the White Sox bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Tim Hill came in and got out of it with a big strikeout.
Ian Kennedy earned his 28th save in the ninth. I’ll be totally honest with you - I had no idea Ian Kennedy had that many saves. That’s fourth in the entire American League! He’s been legitimately good (66 K:15 BB) this year. He’s earned his assignment as next year’s Opening Day closer.
Sparkman finished with the win after a 76-pitch, five-inning performance. He allowed four hits and struck out four, yielding the three runs on the first-inning homer. He is 4-11 on the year.
The Royals are 54-92. They need to go 9-7 over the last 16 games to avoid 100 losses. It’s possible, but with the Astros all set to come to town this weekend, it won’t be easy.
Tomorrow: the rubber match of the series, and it’s an afternoon game starting at 1:10 pm. Jorge Lopez and Lucas Giolito will battle. We could all save three hours if the Royals just got on the bus and headed out now. Just hang the L and move on.