The Royals staged a bizarre ninth-inning comeback, but would ultimately lose 6-5 on a walk-off home run to succumb to the White Sox for the fourth time in four tries this year. The game was marked by missed opportunities at the plate, particularly for the struggling Adalberto Mondesi.
The White Sox struck in the second inning when Danny Duffy hung a change up to Luis Robert, who has murdered the Royals this year. Robert deposited the pitch over the right field fence for a solo home run to make it 1-0 Chicago. But the Royals battled back in the third off Reynaldo Lopez when Whit Merrifield led off the inning with a home run. Hunter Dozier kept the rally going with a single, followed by a Jorge Soler single. Ryan O’Hearn, who has begun to heat up, drove home Dozier with an RBI single to make it 2-1 Royals.
Duffy pitched well until the fifth, when he gave up a two-out single to Tim Anderson. Eloy Jimenez made it hurt with a two-run home run to put Chicago back on top 3-2. It looks like the Royals might hold them there when Jesse Hahn struck out Danny Mendick with two on in the sixth, but the ball got by Cam Gallagher to extend the inning. Hahn would walk Nomar Mazara to force a run in and make it 4-2.
Jorge Soler quickly equalized things in the seventh with a two-run home run off White Sox reliever Matt Foster. They had a chance to add onto that when Alex Gordon singled and Ryan O’Hearn walked, but that brought up the struggling Adalberto Mondesi, who struck out on a fastball right down the middle.
The Royals would tie the game in the ninth on one of the weirdest plays you’ll see. O’Hearn drew his third walk of the night, and would be replaced by pinch-runner Bubba Starling. Maikel Franco lined a gapper that would have held Starling at third, only Franco got caught in a run-down between first and second. Somehow, Franco evaded a tag, and Bubba broke for home. White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal, arguing for a replay at second to show that Franco was out, wasn’t paying attention to the ball, which skipped by him, allowing Starling to score easily. A replay challenge was inconclusive, leaving the safe call on the field and a 5-5 tie game to stand.
Franco advanced to third, which gave the Royals a great chance to take the lead. But Alex Gordon popped out, bringing up Adalberto Mondesi. It was yet another awful game for Mondesi at the plate. He was up with a runner on base in every single at bat tonight, and went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, leaving a total of eight men on base. Sure enough, he struck out looking to end the threat, leaving the game tied.
But the tie wouldn’t last long. With Trevor Rosenthal seemingly unavailable, the Royals turned to Ian Kennedy for the bottom of the ninth. This will come as a surprise, but Kennedy gave up a home run to Yasmani Grandal on his fourth pitch of the game. Game over.
The Royals have dropped five of seven and are now just two games away from having the worst record in the league. If it wasn’t painfully obvious a week ago, it should be clear now - the Royals won’t be a playoff team in 2020. With the trade deadline looming, the Royals need to look to the future and trade off short-term players for prospects.