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White Sox 7, Royals 5: Bullpen finally up to task

Scoreless relief work preserves lead on night when starters combined to allow seven homers

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

I dropped into the city in the middle of this one, so let's play catch-up:

*One night after breaking a five-game losing streak, the White Sox snapped a nine-game losing streak to AL Central opponents. In the process, they extended Kansas City's misery to eight games and leap-frogged past them in the standings.

*Chris Sale finally picked up his 10th win, but he needed help to do it. The Royals gave him the customary hard time. Eric Hosmer led the way, hitting the first two homers by a lefty off Sale since Brennan Boesch in 2012. The first one was a cheap one that barely cleared the wall to left, but the second was on a mistake slider. Sale also gave up a solo shot to Sal Perez in the sixth inning.

*But the ball was flying out for both teams, and Ian Kennedy got the worse of it between the starters, giving up four homers. Melky Cabrera hit a no-doubter to right center in the third inning, giving the Sox their first lead at 3-1. They led for the rest of the night.

*Brett Lawrie and Alex Avila joined Cabrera in the dinger department by going back-to-back in the fourth inning. Avila's was his first, and it went the opposite way.

*Avila played catch-up himself by hitting a second in the sixth inning, a two-run top-handed shot liner that disappeared into the bullpen bar. It probably should've been a solo shot, but on Lawrie's tailor-made 4-6-3 ball right before, Alcides Escobar made the strange decision to step toward first base on the pivot, which took him right into the path of a sliding J.B. Shuck. The throw went wide, Lawrie remained on first, and Avila drove him in as well.

*The insurance runs were welcome, because Robin Ventura let Sale start the sixth inning on 101 pitches and face three batters, which was only noteworthy because all of them reached on line drives. A single, a double and a single chased Sale from the game with runners on the corners, a three-run lead, and Eric Hosmer coming to the plate.

*With Hosmer a third homer away from being the tying run, Ventura turned to non-LOOGY Dan Jennings. Jennings found a way to play one on TV, as a hittable first-pitch slider ended up being a routine fly to left. A run scored, but Jennings did his job. Zach Putnam eventually did his, brushing off a single by striking out Kendrys Morales and Perez.

*Likewise, Nate Jones and David Robertson were up to the task. Both survived first-batter bunts, with Robertson making a great play on Whit Merrifield's attempt. Neither allowed a hard-hit ball, and Robertson ended the game by striking out Hosmer on a changeup. That helps kills the aftertaste from two weekends ago.

*Oh, and Tim Anderson made his debut. He wasted no time collecting his first hit and run in the third inning, leading off with a double and scoring on a Jose Abreu single that tied the game (and preceded Cabrera's blast). He later shot a single over the head of Luke Hochevar, finishing his night 2-for-3. He was not tested in the field, at least on makeable plays.

Record: 31-30 | Box score | Highlights