Let us not bury the lede: Jorge Soler is a big strong human who can hit big long home runs when he’s doing well. Recently, he has been doing very well. Tonight, he swatted not one, but two massive home runs to help power the Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Let’s watch them. Here’s the first, a nearly 450-foot missile launch to straightaway center flashy enough to make Jeffrey Bezos blush.
Stay hot, Jorge Soler! This homer clears all three walls in center field and the #Royals are on the board first.— Bally Sports Kansas City (@BallySportsKC) July 27, 2021
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City
App: Bally Sports app#TogetherRoyal pic.twitter.com/IuV52uewqw
Then, his second, a line drive shot that he yanked into the left field bullpen.
These two were Soler’s sixth and seventh home runs in his last 11 games, a flurry which has more than doubled his total in the previous 86 games on the year. They were also his fifth and sixth home runs in his last six games. When Soler is hot, he makes ball go long way. And, really, those balls should have been hit hard. White Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel simply left some cookies for Soler, who promptly and ravenously devoured them. This represents a return to form for Soler, who as recently as July 7 had a .588 OPS.
It wasn’t just a Soler show, though he was the loudest and brightest piece on the team tonight. The Royals notched two other runs against Keuchel via a Whit Merrifield double and an opposite-field home run from Andrew Benintendi. And the Royals also had another great performance in their corner from Mike Minor.
Minor began the game with four no-hit innings, and through five innings Minor had only allowed three baserunners—each in a different inning. Minor was sharp, generating swings and misses with his entire arsenal of pitches. But as with most Minor starts, he ran into trouble the third time through the order. Minor led off the sixth inning with a walk to Seby Zavala and coughed up a double to Tim Anderson. Rookie Andrew Vaughn then poked an opposite-field single to score them both. Thankfully, Minor buckled down and didn’t allow any additional damage. Of his last seven pitches, five were swinging strikes by strikeout victims Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada.
The Royals almost broke the game open in the eighth inning, when Hunter Dozier walked to load the bases following singles by Salvador Perez and Benintendi. But Garret Crochet managed to strike out the side in between those treks on base.
That failure to break the game open reared its ugly head in the ninth inning. Scott Barlow, who had also handled the eighth inning, came back out for the ninth after only throwing seven pitches in the eighth. He got Jiminez to pop out, but Moncada and Adam Engle each hit the ball to the opposite field, Engle’s RBI single scoring Moncada from second after his double. With the tying run on first base, pinch hitter and old friend Brian Goodwin hit a soft line drive in a hit-and-run that stranded Engle for an easy double play.
Prior to tonight, the Royals had lost 10 straight to the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium, which seems like a lot because that is a lot. But not tonight. The Royals win their sixth straight—the greatest win streak of the year—and improve to 43-55.