After going 0-for-12 over the first two games of the series with runners in scoring position, the White Sox were just 1-for-11 in that category today.
Normally, that would mean a loss. In this case, that would mean a costly sweep to the Royals at home. Fortunately for the Sox, a few things set this game apart from the first two.
No. 1: The hit was a big one. The White Sox had the bases loaded against Yordano Ventura with two outs after a four-pitch walk to Todd Frazier. Melky Cabrera fell behind 0-2, but he came back to lace 96-mph fastball to center field to score two runs and give the Sox a 3-1 lead.
No. 2: They hit a homer. One reason Ventura might've pitched around Frazier was the fact that he homered to right field on a 1-2 fastball the inning before. He also singled sharply to left in his first at-bat, so maybe Frazier scared him a bit.
No. 3: Carlos Rodon was good. He had a couple of rocky sequences, including a four-hit second inning that led to Kansas City's first run. He also had trouble with Paulo Orlando, who kept swinging at first pitches with success. He scored the first run with a single, then put the second run in scoring position with a double. It came home on a sac fly to narrow the lead to 3-2.
Otherwise, Rodon had a pretty good grip on the game. He only struck out four, but he got his count of goofy swings and iffy contact. More importantly, he pitched 6⅔ innings and gave the bullpen a lead with the bases clean.
No. 4: The bullpen was better. Matt Albers struck out the only batter he faced, Zach Duke retired Eric Hosmer in a situational lefty situation, and Nate Jones was in peak form (strikeout with a slider, strikeout with a high fastball).
Only David Robertson provided drama, as he took a little too much time getting back on the rubber after throwing a good first-pitch curve to Kendrys Morales. Robin Ventura and Herm Schneider came out, but they ended up returning to the dugout with their closer still on the mound. Said closer closed the game, striking out Morales on a checked swing.
It wasn't the exact kind of effort you'd like to see end a losing streak, because they went just 1-for-23 on the series in the clutch. They were able to score three runs while withstanding the Royals' defense, though. Adam Eaton thought he had a run-scoring hit, but Lorenzo Cain flagged it down in the gap. Likewise, Orlando crashed into the wall running down a two-out drive by Austin Jackson, which would've scored another run.
A win's a win, especially with Cleveland losing. The Sox now lead by 2½ with a doubleheader against the Indians on Monday.