After a disappointing — and ugly at times — series loss to the Minnesota Twins last week, the White Sox made the trip to Kansas City looking to get back on track in a four-game weekend series. The South Siders did just that as they won all four games to improve to 26-15 and reclaim sole possession of first place in the AL Central. Here’s how each game unfolded:
Thursday’s Crooked Numbers
The Chicago White Sox grabbed a win in game one of a four-game set against the Kansas City Royals behind a pair of five-run innings and big power from Luis Robert.
Dylan Cease took the mound for the Sox and was countered by Danny Duffy. The Sox improved to 12–0 against southpaws this season with an 11-6 win against a divisional opponent.
The Royals opened the scoring in their half of the first. Hunter Dozier hit his fifth long ball of the season to give Kansas City a 1–0 lead.
Edwin Encarnacion got that run right back in the top of the second with his seventh home run of the year, 1–1.
Later, a walk to Luis Robert and back-to-back singles by Danny Mendick and Adam Engel loaded the bases. Tim Anderson took ball four to force in a run to give the Sox a 2–1 lead. Prior to Yasmani Grandal walking, a wild pitch plated another run to extend the lead to 3–1. The frame ended with a Jose Abreu two-run double, but on the play, Grandal was thrown out at home. It was 5–1 Sox at this point in the game.
In the top of the fourth, Anderson used his power to give the Sox a 6–1 advantage. It was the shortstop’s seventh bomb of the season.
Later in the Royals’ sixth, back-to-back doubles by Maikel Franco and Alex Gordon made it 6–2. Matt Foster then came in to pitch for Cease. Edward Olivares greeted him with a single to put runners at the corners. Nicky Lopez doubled home both runners to make it 6–4.
Again, the White Sox answered back just a half inning later. With Jake Newberry now on the mound, Eloy Jimenez and Grandal both singled. Abreu hit an RBI-single to make it 7–4. Encarnacion was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Yoan Moncada then hit a sacrifice fly to extend the Sox lead to 8–4. What happened next was another jaw-dropping event by Luis Robert. The rookie sensation hit a mammoth three-run shot to give his team an 11–4 lead.
A few runs crossed the dish for Kansas City in their half of the eighth with Bernardo Flores Jr. on the hill for the Sox. Bubba Starling singled and was pushed to third on an Olivares double. Back-to-back ground outs got the Royals a few runs to adjust the score to 11–6.
Steve Cishek entered the game in the ninth inning to shut the door and did so successfully, despite finding himself with the bases loaded. This was a much needed win after the latter half of the Minnesota series. 11–6 was the final from Kauffman Stadium on Thursday night.
Manufacturing a Friday Victory
The Chicago White Sox used 14 hits to beat the Kansas City Royals on Friday night. With the Cleveland Indians losing earlier in the evening to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Sox also moved back into first place at 24-15.
Dane Dunning got the start for the White Sox and was opposed by Brady Singer. Although Dunning went just 4.2 innings, the bullpen picked up the rest for another impressive night for the staff.
The White Sox wasted no time in opening the scoring. In the top of the first, Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada both reached on singles. A wild pitch pushed them up a base. Edwin Encarnacion hit a sacrifice fly to plate Anderson and make it 1-0.
Another run crossed the dish in the top of the second. Eloy Jimenez and James McCann singled to put two on with one out. Nick Madrigal singled to center that allowed Jimenez to score and double the Sox lead to 2-0.
Kansas City cut the lead in half in their portion of the second. Alex Gordon walked to begin the frame and advanced to second on a Dunning wild pitch. Adalberto Mondesi then drove him home with a single to right, 2-1 Sox.
Later in the fourth, Nomar Mazara singled as did Madrigal to put runners at the corners with one out. Anderson then put one in the air to plate Mazara and make it 3-1 visitors.
The Royals answered back in the bottom of the fourth. Maikel Franco walked to start the inning. Gordon singled to push Franco to third. Edward Olivares reached on a fielder’s choice by Anderson that scored Franco and saw Gordon safe at second, 3-2. A hitter later, Mondesi’s base knock scored Gordon to tie the game at 3-3.
The Sox retook the lead in their half of the fifth. Encarnacion walked and was followed by a Jimenez single with two outs. With Encarnacion on third, Singer’s wild pitch invited Edwin to score and give the visitors a 4-3 advantage.
In the sixth with two outs, Anderson singled to force Singer out of the game for Jesse Hahn. After Anderson stole second, Moncada walked. They both scored on a double by Jose Abreu to make it 6-3.
More White Sox offense came in their half of the seventh. With Kyle Zimmer now on the bump for Kansas City, Luis Robert singled and was plated by Jimenez’s RBI-double, 7-3.
The Royals had a chance to trim the lead in the bottom of the eighth. With Matt Foster on the mound, Nicky Lopez and Mondesi both singled with two outs. This forced Ricky Renteria to bring in Alex Colome an inning earlier than expected. The Sox closer walked Ryan O’Hearn to load the bases. Whit Merrifield put together a tough at-bat but finally swung through a pitch to end the threat and preserve the Sox four-run advantage.
Colome remained in the game for the Royals’ ninth and ran into some trouble. Franco and Gordon reached on a single and walk. Franco was then driven home by an Olivares single to center to make it 7-4. Ryan McBroom came up to pinch-hit for Lopez as the tying run, but the Sox closer was able to retire him for his eighth save of the season.
Game three of this four-game set is tomorrow at 6:05 PM CT with Lucas Giolito on the bump. Be sure to check out the Sox On Tap Podcast for everything south side as we near the home stretch of this 2020 campaign.
Saturday Night Swagger
The Chicago White Sox took the third of four games against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday behind a solid start from Lucas Giolito, a pair of home runs, and a stellar catch from Luis Robert.
This was the team’s 24th win, (24-15), and their 13th victory against a left-handed starter, which they have yet to lose this season.
The White Sox wasted no time getting on the board. In the top of the first, Tim Anderson led off with a double to center on the first pitch. Two batters later, Jose Abreu hit a two-run home run to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
The Royals got one run back in the third inning thanks to the long ball. Bubba Starling hit a solo home run to left to cut the Sox lead in half, 2-1.
The Sox added on in the fifth. James McCann doubled down the left field line and was later driven in by a ball off of Anderson’s bat that was thrown away by Maikel Franco. 3-1 Good Guys. Yasmani Grandal followed with his fifth home run of the season and an exquisite bat drop to make it 5-1.
Later in the bottom of the seventh with Giolito still on the mound, Ryan O’Hearn singled over the head of Anderson. Franco drove him home with a double down the left field line to make it 5-2. Ricky Renteria then removed Giolito from the game and brought in Ross Detwiler. Adalberto Mondesi’s knock plated Franco to make it 5-3. Detwiler picked off Mondesi but then walked Starling. He was relieved by Jimmy Cordero with two outs. Nicky Lopez grounded out to end the inning.
Codi Heuer entered the game for the Sox in the Royals’ eighth and kept the score at 5-3.
Alex Colome came in for the ninth inning and was immediately saved by an absolute web gem from Luis Robert in right center field for the first out.
The rest of the inning required no such effort. White Sox win 5-3.
Sweeping on Sunday
In the series finale between the two AL Central rivals, Dallas Keuchel took the mound for the White Sox countered by Matt Harvey for the Royals.
The South Siders opened the scoring in the third inning of this contest. Yolmer Sanchez led off the frame with a double. He advanced to third thanks to a sacrifice fly by Tim Anderson. Yasmani Grandal then singled to right field to plate Sanchez and make the score 1-0 White Sox.
The White Sox tacked on another run in the sixth inning with two outs. After Edwin Encarnacion and Eloy Jimenez struck out to open the frame, Luis Robert reached on a walk. The rookie phenom then stole second base. Nomar Mazara came to the plate and roped a double to score Robert and double the White Sox lead, 2-0.
Dallas Keuchel kept the Kansas City bats quiet to the tune of 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. However, the veteran lefty looked a bit stiff as he began to throw warm-up pitches before the bottom of the sixth inning. That marked the end of his afternoon as Jimmy Cordero entered the game in relief. The White Sox later revealed that Keuchel is day-to-day with lower back stiffness.
The Sox offense struck again in the top of the seventh inning. Yasmani Grandal led off the frame with a walk and Jose Abreu followed with a single. Edwin Encarnacion then came up to the plate and smoked a three-run home run to deep left field to give the White Sox a 5-0 lead.
Kansas City scored their only runs of the ballgame in the bottom of the seventh. Bubba Starling led off with a single. This would be the last batter Cordero faced. Steve Cishek entered the game and promptly allowed a two-run home run to Edward Olivares to make the score 5-2. A combination of Cishek and Evan Marshall was able to close out the inning with no further damage.
The White Sox offense wasn’t done for the day yet, however. They added three more runs in the top of the eighth inning. Yolmer Sanchez jumpstarted the frame with a leadoff double, his second of the game. Anderson followed with a strikeout but Grandal picked him up with an RBI double to make it 6-2 Sox.
Grandal then advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Abreu struck out, but Encarnacion tapped a single back up the middle to score Grandal, making the score 7-2 South Siders. Jarrod Dyson entered the game as a pinch-runner for Encarnacion but didn’t stay on first base long as Eloy Jimenez promptly drove him home with an RBI double.
That marked the final run of the ballgame, as the White Sox went on to complete the four-game sweep by a score of 8-2 in the finale.
Marshall pitched a clean eighth inning and newcomer Alex McRae locked down yet another Sox win in the ninth inning.
What’s On Tap Next?
After having Labor Day off, the White Sox will head to Pittsburgh to face the rebuilding Pirates (13-26) for a two-game set on Tuesday and Wednesday. Dylan Cease will toe the rubber for the South Siders against Joe Musgrove of the Bucs in the series opener. Dane Dunning will look to continue his early-career success for the White Sox on Wednesday against Pittsburgh’s JT Brubaker.
Don’t forget to tune in to the Sox On Tap podcast for postgame reactions and analysis after every White Sox contest.