As the Royals limped in to the All-Star break, losing six of their last seven games, nothing was going right. The starting rotation was beat up and struggling while the offense was floundering. Since the All-Star break, the starting rotation has been mostly lights out while the offense has done enough to win ball games.
Kansas City followed the same script just one night after a thrilling comeback victory, scoring runs in four of their first five innings while shutting out the first-place White Sox in a 5-0 afternoon victory.
They knocked around Carlos Rodon, starting with more heroics from Salvador Perez. The night after Sal tied the game in the 9th inning with a 438-foot bomb against All-Star Liam Hendriks, he put the Royals up 2-0 with a 446 foot shot against another All-Star in Rodon. It was the 600th RBI of his career, making him just the 8th player in team history to reach that plateau.
The Royals were back after Rodon in the 2nd, with Michael A. Taylor’s 9th homer of the season, this time a solo homer, to put the Royals up 3-0. Nicky Lopez nearly added a third homer, but settled for a two-out triple and was stranded at third to end the inning. A Hunter Dozier sac-fly gave Kansas City starter Carlos Hernandez a 4-0 cushion, with the Royals scoring against Rodon in each of the first three innings.
Hernandez labored as the Royals built their lead, but kept the White Sox off the board in his best start to date. The White Sox had runners on in each of the first three innings, but timely double plays and strikeouts helped Hernandez escape trouble. Kansas City was scoreless for the first time in the bottom half of the 4th, but they also made Rodon labor with back-to-back two-out singles from Lopez and Whit Merrifield. It would prove to end Rodon’s afternoon, with manager Tony LaRussa ending his afternoon after throwing 74 pitches in just four innings.
He was replaced by Reynaldo Lopez, who quickly found himself in trouble after a Hunter Dozier double put runners on 2nd and 3rd with just one out. A tremendous 11-pitch at-bat for Michael A. Taylor ended a sac fly that put the Royals up 5-0.
Hernandez cruised through his final three innings of work, with just one White Sox batter reaching. He finished his afternoon with 6.0 innings of scoreless ball, striking out four along the way in what was easily his best performance as a Royal. Kansas City’s starters were tremendous this series, with each pitcher going at least six innings, and only once did they give up more than a run.
Richard Lovelady gave the Royals two strong innings of relief, including a strikeout to end the 8th that was followed with a big celebratory bark from Lovelady that drew the ire of the White Sox because that’s how baseball works. Wade Davis closed out the game to give the Royals their first three-series winning streak of the season.
They are winners of eight of their past nine games and have a 9-3 record since the All-Star break. The record is 45-56.
Up Next: Royals at Blue Jays, Friday, July 20, 6:07 PM CDT, Rogers Centre. LHP Daniel Lynch (1-2, 7.88 ERA) v. RHP Ross Stripling (3-6, 4.84 ERA)