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Cueto Shines in Debut, White Sox Bailed Out By Robert in the 10th

The White Sox needed extra innings to defeat the Royals 5-3 on Monday. Johnny Cueto shined in his White Sox debut.

Johnny Cueto White Sox
Photo: whitesox/Twitter

The Chicago White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals in the first of a five-game set. Johnny Cueto finally made his White Sox debut Monday night in KC. The righty was impressive against his former team while Luis Robert provided some late inning heroics.

Dia de Cueto

Cueto made his first major league start of the season. The 36-year-old righty was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte after making four starts for the Knights. Cueto was signed to a minor league deal shortly after Chicago announced they would be without Lance Lynn until June. The former All-Star may be past his prime, but showed serviceability last season making 21 starts for the 107-win Giants. But he looked like the Cueto of old vs the lowly Royals. He did the usual Cueto things varying his timing to the plate adding deception, and getting great movement on his pitches. KC hitters were off balance all night as were some of us at home watching.

Johnny made the most of his first start at Kaufmann stadium since throwing a two-hitter in the World Series against the New York Mets in 2015. He blanked the Royals for 6.0 innings allowing just two hits, issuing two frees passes, and fanning seven. Our very own Northwest Indiana Steven reported and #confirmed the happenings live.

A Little Help for Cueto

The White Sox opened the scoring in the third inning on a sacrifice fly from nine-hitter Andrew Vaughn. Adam Engel reached second base when a fly ball dropped in for a hit between Andrew Benintendi and Michael A. Taylor. Engel immediately stole third and scored on Vaughn’s fly out. In the next inning, Yasmani Grandal took an 0-2 offering from Royals starter Brad Keller into the right field bullpen. Grandal’s rocket off the bat made it 3-0.

KC starter Brad Keller had a solid start. He did not allow much hard contact outside of Grandal’s homer. Keller was done after working 7.0 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. He fanned three and issued no free passes.

The Usual Drama

What would a White Sox game be without a little drama? Kendall Graveman has emerged as the White Sox best option out of the bullpen. However, he experienced his first real hiccup of the year when he allowed the Royals to even the score at 3-3 in the eighth. Whit Merrifield hit a a two-run double that almost left the park in left. He moved up to third on the throw home. Benintendi plated him on a single.

The game went to extra innings and in the tenth, the White Sox took the lead for good. Luis Robert connected on an 0-1 pitch from Scott Barlow for a two-run homer, scoring ghost runner Josh Harrison. The 425-footer put the White Sox up 5-3. Liam Hendriks worked a 1-2-3 tenth by striking out the side for a White Sox winner!

Notes

Luis Robert extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games with an infield single in the fourth.

The White Sox optioned Danny Mendick to Triple-A Charlotte to make room for Cueto.

What’s On Tap Next?

KC and Chicago will play two games on Tuesday. Dylan Cease will take the hill in the opener while we wait for an announcement on who gets the ball in game two. It’s possible that Lucas Giolito toes the rubber and returns from the COVID-19 IL.

The Royals Jonathan Heasley will pitch game one for the Royals, while Brady Singer takes the mound in game two.

You can catch all the action on NBC Sports Net Chicago and Sox On Tap will have the postgame discussion afterwards.

Tune in to the Sox On Tap podcast for postgame reaction and further White Sox commentary all season.

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