Was it worth David Robertson blowing a save to see the White Sox offense finally torch Kelvin Herrera?
Maybe. At least if you’re not Chris Sale.
Robertson couldn’t preserve a one-run lead in the ninth, costing Sale his 15th victory. Todd Frazier made sure the frustration was short-lived, delivering a three-run homer off Herrera in the 10th that gave the Sox the lead for good. Jacob Turner gave up a double that came around to score (unearned) in the bottom of the inning, but Dan Jennings struck out Eric Hosmer to record the save without bringing the tying run to the plate.
Up until Frazier, Herrera hadn’t pitched poorly. He got Adam Eaton to ground out, then got ahead 0-2 on Jose Abreu, followed by a putaway slider. It just didn’t put away Abreu, as he got down and hooked a single through the left side. The same thing happened with Justin Morneau, except he dropped the bat head on a pitch Sal Perez prepared to block and flipped it down the right field line for a double.
With Herrera’s best pitches going for singles, he tried the opposite with Frazier. It didn’t work. Frazier lashed a grooved first-pitch fastball and launched a laser out to left for his 31st homer of the year. The Sox bullpen could win with that margin.
Unfortunately, Sale didn’t get to reap all the rewards. He deserved the win, as he survived the Royals' usual harassment. They jumped on a slider that wasn’t all that sharp for a first-inning run, and Hosmer went the other way with a fastball to give the Royals a 3-1 lead after the Sox tied it up.
But the Sox offense had some fight in it against Edinson Volquez. After manufacturing that first run in the third, they came through with three runs in the fifth, and all after the first two batters were retired. Tim Anderson kept the inning alive with a single, then scored from first on Melky Cabrera’s single to center (Anderson was running on 3-2 and Paulo Orlando cut off Cabrera’s single in pretty deep center, but still).
The Sox didn’t stop there. Adam Eaton got an 0-2 pitch through the right side, and then Jose Abreu muscled a flyball to right center to score Cabrera, tying the game at 3. One more single from Morneau gave Sale another lead to protect.
Sale did his job this time. He didn’t allow a hit over his final four innings, retiring 13 in a row until he walked Raul Mondesi with two outs in the seventh, his only free pass of the night. Mondesi stole second, but Orlando flied out to right to end the threat.
Nate Jones held up his end of the bargain in the eighth, but Kendrys Morales came through with the Royals’ first hit since the third to start the ninth against Robertson. Pinch-running Jarrod Dyson stole second during Alex Gordon’s at-bat, but Gordon struck out to put Robertson one out away. Alas, he gave the always-aggressive Alcides Escobar a first-pitch fastball to hit, and Escobar shot a liner through the left side to score Dyson and push the game into extras.
*Sale finished with a good line: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 82 of 115 pitches for strikes.
*Robertson has blown two victories for Sale this half.
*Herrera entered the game with a 1.63 ERA, and allowed just one hit and one walk over five scoreless innings against the Sox this year.
*Morneau went 4-for-5 with a double.
*Frazier was the last White Sox without a hit, but his homer capped off an efficient night for the offense, which went 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position.