Jeff Samardzija did all he could to enhance his trade value in the month of July. Since then, he has posted back-to-back poor starts as the Kansas City Royals won for the ninth time against the White Sox in 2015.
The game started off very well for Chicago, as Samardzija dominated the Royals first time through the order by not allowing a base runner the first three innings. A night after the White Sox failed twice to drive in a run from third with fewer than two outs, Alexei Ramirez led off the third inning with his 22nd double. Carlos Sanchez laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Ramirez. Not knowing if it was a call from the bench or Sanchez deciding on his own, it was the wrong decision regardless.
Just like last night, the Sox stranded Ramirez on third as Geovany Soto struck out, Adam Eaton walked, and Tyler Saladino hit a chopper back to pitcher Jeremy Guthrie ending the threat.
Chicago struck first in the fourth inning when Abreu hit his 20th home run to dead center field. That started a rally, as Melky Cabrera lined a double down the left-field line and Avisail Garcia singled to center. Because Garcia's hit was up the middle, Cabrera had to freeze making sure the ball got through, and only advanced to third. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Adam LaRoche hit into a 5-4-3 double play that scored Cabrera, but ended the rally.
Leading 2-0, Samardzija's struggles began in the bottom half of the frame. Alcides Escobar led it off with a single and was followed up with back-to-back walks to Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. Bases loaded, nobody out, the Royals plated three runs to take the lead. The inning could have been much worse as Alexei Ramirez made a nifty behind-the-back toss to Sanchez for an out at second. The inning could have been better if Tyler Saladino, who made a brilliant stab on Kendrys Morales grounder, couldn't find the seams during the exchange and only managed to throw out Morales instead of turning the double play.
In the fifth inning, Chicago mounted another rally as both Saladino and Soto singled. With two outs and Jose Abreu at bat with a full count, Soto got too big of a head start on his way to third. Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez noticed this and signaled to Guthrie, who turned around and caught Soto in a rundown. Eventually he was tagged out, ending the threat on the basepaths.
Woes continued in the bottom half as Kansas City scored four runs. Samardzija couldn't finish the fifth, and ended up with seven runs on his tab over just 4⅔ innings.
Down 7-2, Abreu led off the sixth inning with another home run, his first multi-home run game of 2015 (he had four in 2014). Just like the fourth inning, Abreu's blast started another rally. The Sox answered the Royals' four with four of their own, with Sanchez and Eaton both driving in runs to cut the lead to 7-6.
Nothing materialized for Chicago offensively in the seventh and eighth innings. In the ninth, after Royals closer Greg Holland struck out Eaton and Saladino, Abreu had an opportunity to tie the game. With a 2-2 count, Holland threw a 97-mph fastball well off the outside corner. Still, it was a strike enough for Laz Diaz, who rung up Abreu to end the game.
- Chicago now has hit a #Dinger in 11 straight games.
- Abreu has six home runs in the past 11 games
- Adam Eaton was 1-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs after jamming his shoulder last night.