It is no hidden fact that the Royals hit better at home than on the road. As a team, Kansas City is slashing a full 59 points lower on the road than at home. And after scoring nine runs on Tuesday and 15 runs on Sunday, the offense again came to a screeching halt in a 7-1 loss to the White Sox. The Royals also stranded 17 men on base.
After scoring 24 combined runs on Sunday and Tuesday, Kansas City scored just three runs across the final two games of its series against the South Siders.
Daniel Mengden got his first start of the season as one of two September call ups, along with Nate Eaton. He started cleanly in his first two innings, capped off by an incredibly catch by Drew Waters in right center field to rob AJ Pollock of a home run.
Waters continued returning the favor by leading off the very next half inning with a single into right. He moved to third on a Nicky Lopez single and scored on MJ Melendez’s fielder’s choice, putting the Royals up 1-0.
The lead didn’t last long, with Mengden running into trouble in the bottom half. Leury Garcia led off with a single and scored on Elvis Andrus’ single after a wild pitch moved him to 2nd. Andrew Vaughn put there very next pitch over the fence in left, giving Chicago a 3-1 lead.
Mike Matheny had to go get him after just 2.2 innings pitched when he followed up the homer by giving up a double and a walk. Collin Snider relieved him and got Yasmani Grandal to ground out to limit the damage.
The start was Mengden’s first since July of 2020, where he went four innings for the A’s against the Rockies. It was the first time since September of 2016 that he failed to escape the 3rd inning of a start and just the 2nd time in his career. Mengden ended the day having given up three runs on five hits.
Johnny Cueto cruised through his first four innings before running into some trouble in the 5th. Waters led off the inning with a double, but was thrown out trying to take third on a Lopez groundout. Melendez singled and moved to 2nd on an errant throw, giving the Royals runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. However, two softish lineouts from Bobby Witt Jr and Salvador Perez ended the threat.
Kansas City put another threat together the very next inning, with a leadoff error and a walk bringing the tying run to the plate. A weak popout from pinch hitter Ryan O’Hearn, along with a softly hit groundout from Lopez with the bases loaded ended the inning.
The White Sox made the Royals pay for the missed opportunities the next inning, tagging Brad Keller and Jose Cuas for two runs, increasing the lead to 5-1. They added two more insurance runs in the 8th for good measure on AJ Pollock’s two-run homer and Chicago’s bullpen shut the door, securing the 7-1 win and the series. White Sox relievers struck out 18 Royals, the 4th highest total in a nine inning game all season.
The loss drops Kansas City to 53-79, while the White Sox improve to just one game below .500 at 65-66. they’re still just 4.5 games back of Cleveland in the AL Central.
Up Next: Royals at Tigers, Friday, September 2, 6:10 PM CDT, Comerica Park. LHP Daniel Lynch (4-9, 4.70 ERA) v. RHP Drew Hutchison (2-7, 4.01 ERA)