Rookie Drew Waters walked with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to force home the winning run in his MLB debut in a 6-4 Royals win on Monday. In a game that was rescheduled from the canceled first week of the season, White Sox pitchers walked six and hit four Royals batters in the contest.
The White Sox let pitcher Michael Kopech start the game even though it was pretty apparent from the get-go that he wasn’t right. He walked MJ Melendez to start the game, then hit Bobby Witt Jr. in the shoulder on an 0-2 pitch. Salvador Perez singled home a run, and Vinnie Pasquantino walked before Tony LaRussa finally went to get Kopech. The White Sox would later say he left with left knee soreness.
Reliever Jimmy Lambert would not fare much better, giving up an RBI gapper to Michael Massey that was limited to a single when Salvy inexplicably stopped at third. It would not matter as Lambert walked Michael A. Taylor to force home a third run, and a Ryan O’Hearn single would make it 4-0.
Vinnie Pasquantino left the game early when he appeared to injure his right arm on a swing in the second inning. Nick Pratto would replace him, striking out in his two plate appearances.
Daniel Lynch cruised through the first three innings but found trouble in the fourth. Eloy Jimenez, Jose Abreu, and Andrew Vaughn hit back-to-back-to-back singles to score a run. Elvis Andrus later singled home two more to make it 4-3. Lynch walked the bases loaded, but escaped by inducing a pop-up by A.J. Pollock to preserve the lead.
The White Sox pulled back to even in the seventh off Dylan Coleman. Two walks set up an RBI double to Elvis Andrus down the left field line to tie the game. Otherwise, the Royals pen pitched well, with scoreless outings from Carlos Hernandez, Amir Garrett, and Scott Barlow.
The Royals were able to take the lead in the eighth off reliever Joe Kelly, who plunked Massey and Taylor back-to-back to start the inning. Ryan O’Hearn singled to load the bases, and Waters patiently took four balls to force in the winning run. MJ Melendez would knock home a sacrifice fly for an insurance run to make it 6-4.
The Royals take the one-game series against Chicago and improve to 50-74. They will host the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three-game set beginning on Tuesday night, with Jonathan Heasley expected to get the call up to start.