On Monday night, the White Sox showed numerous signs of the team that lost by six runs to the Houston Astro the day before. This time, however, they also showed an ability to fight back even without Jose Abreu's muscle.
They also benefited from some classic Royaling at the end, which put a dumb capper on a game that had a pretty dumb start. Really, it was just kind of a dumb game overall, especially if you use a more general definition of "dumb" to rope in "things that aren't supposed to happen."
Like we did another time a team blew a 5-0 lead, let's bypass the narrative route for a simple inventory of the strange events.
Dumb Thing No. 1: Gordon Beckham's non-error error.
After allowing a leadoff single to start the game, Scott Carroll induced a potential double play ball off the bat of Alcides Escobar. Beckham didn't stay down on a hop that was deader than he anticipated, and it rolled between his legs to put runners on first and third with nobody out. On top of that, Marcus Semien couldn't handle a short hop on a beautiful throw by Adam Eaton, and Adam Dunn couldn't cut off a throw from center -- both of which could've resulted in outs. Instead, the Royals went on to score five quick runs, which means opponents have now outscored the White Sox 17-4 in first innings this month.
Dumb Thing No. 2: Beckham tried to tag second with his crotch after getting thrown out by 15 feet.
It's not good when the throw comes to the base you're trying to advance to and you're not even in the picture.
But Beckham's TOOTBLAN would be overshadowed one batter later by ...
Dumb Thing No. 3: Alexei Ramirez dived into first base ... and didn't touch the bag.
The one time it actually would've worked, too. Instead ... man.
But like Ramirez overshadowed Beckham's mistake, another teammate provided cover for him when ...
Dumb Thing No. 4: Paul Konerko homered to dead center.
The Royals have had a miserable time hitting homers this year ... and pretty much every season. But this year especially, because they've only his 20 homers all season. Jose Abreu has 15 by himself. Dayton Moore and Co. blame Kauffman Stadium, but opponents seem to fare OK in this department.
True, it's not a homer-friendly park. Chris Kamka noted during the game that the Sox are the first opponent to hit three homers in a game there this season. But it isn't so difficult that Konerko, who didn't hit a homer to center or right at any point during the 2013 season, cleared the center field fence with a little room to spare. The Sox do like hitting Jason Vargas, which seems to disprove Hawk Harrelson's "worst five words" theory, but it'd be nice if Konerko could find that kind of contact again during Abreu's absence, if only for a little while.
Along the same lines, Ramirez has more home runs than any Royal after his three-run shot helped the Sox get back in the game. He also matched his previous year's homer total in the process.
Dumb Thing No. 5: The home plate umpire fell asleep.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Johnny Giavotella hit a chopper down the third-base line. Marcus Semien fielded it, fired to second and got the force at second. It looked foul off the bat, but home plate umpire Chris Guccione didn't call it foul. In fact, he didn't do anything.
The Royals protested, and the umpires realized that Guccione dropped the ball. So they huddled for a moment, and emerged with the "foul" call. Robin Ventura came out to call them stupid in a way that didn't get him ejected, and play continued.
And on the next damn pitch, Telenovela grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, and Harrelson chuckled his head off.
Dumb Thing No. 5: Ned Yost pinch-ran for a speedy runner, then bunted.
Fast-forward to the ninth, where Norichika Aoki led off with a single against Matt Lindstrom. Aoki is plenty fast, but Ned Yost called for the speedier Jared Dyson to run for him. That would make sense if Dyson were given the opportunity to run, but Yost used Alcides Escobar to bunt him to second. At that point, Aoki and Dyson stand the same chance at scoring.
Dumb Thing No. 6: Matt Lindstrom injured himself trying to field said bunt.
That said, the Royals didn't pay for the bunt because Lindstrom turned or rolled his left ankle while coming off the mound, and the ball ended up rolling through his legs for a single. It's probably better than Lindstrom didn't try fielding it, because a wild throw would have been more costly.
That required Robin Ventura to go to the bullpen. He used Scott Downs to retire Eric Hosmer on a strikeout (Downs' 10th consecutive scoreless outing), and then Jake Petricka nailed down his first career save with the help of...
Dumb Thing No. 7: The pickoff for the penultimate out.
That said, it wasn't all bad, or weird, or "huh?" The Sox made Vargas leave the game before Carroll's night was officially over, and Ventura avoided trying to get an extra out from Carroll. He turned the ball over to his bullpen after four innings and 94 pitches, and the trust in the relief corps paid off.
Zach Putnam worked two innings, Ronald Belisario did the same, and then Ventura successfully navigated the ninth-inning minefield caused by Lindstrom's injury. That bunt "single" was the only hit allowed by the bullpen over five innings.