On a cold afternoon in Chicago with a gametime temperature of just 39 degrees, the Royals offense couldn’t capitalize on opportunities and the bullpen couldn’t hold the line as they fall 7-3.
Zack Greinke tripled his season strikeout total, punching out four batters in his six innings of work while not walking a batter. However, he continued having issues with hard contact (ten hard-hit balls allowed, per Statcast) and he was finally bit by the long ball, allowing his first homer of the season to Jake Burger in the 4th inning. It was a solo shot that gave the White Sox a 3-0 lead following a sac fly from Reese McGuire in the 2nd and an RBI double by Andrew Vaughn in the 3rd. He settled in to retire the next nine straight batters.
Dylan Cease retired the first 13 Royals hitters before walking Carlos Santana in the 5th inning. He would not advance further. But Kansas City’s pregame sacrifice to the BABIP Gods paid off in the 6th inning. Leading off the inning, Edward Olivares smoked a groundball 64.7 mph off the bat and reached on an infield single, breaking up the no-hitter. This was followed by a strikeout, a wild pitch, and a walk. Whit Merrifield smashed a ball in the air to right at a blistering 73.9 mph, dropping in front of Gavin Sheets and scoring Olivares. The next batter up, Andrew Benintendi, crushed a flyball to left with a scorching 88.4 mph exit velo that dropped in front of Andrew Vaughn, scoring Nicky Lopez and bringing the Royals within a run.
The Royals had a huge opportunity against the Chicago bullpen in the 7th. A single, walk, and hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Kansas City with one out. The struggling Whit Merrifield couldn’t come through with a big hit, but he was able to hit a deep enough flyball to score the speedy Bobby Whit Jr., tying the game 3-3.
The tie game was short-lived. In the bottom of the frame, Collin Snider allowed back-to-back singles to Danny Mendick and Tim Anderson with two outs. Scott Barlow replaced him and on his first pitch threw a 92 mph fastball to Vaughn that caught way too much of the plate. Vaughn didn’t miss, yanking it into the left field seats for a homer that restored Chicago’s three-run lead.
The Sox would tack on another run in the 8th, which would prove more than enough as Kendall Graveman pitched a perfect 8th and 9th inning to even the series with a 7-3 Chicago victory. Kansas City now stands at 6-10. They will have another crack at taking the series with tomorrow afternoon’s rubber match.
Zach Greinke - 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
Dylan Cease - 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 0 HR
Jake Burger - 3-4, 2B, HR, 1 RBI, 1 R
Whit Merrifield - 1-3, 2 RBI