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White Sox 5, Royals 3: A better ninth inning

Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu convert on scoring opportunity this time

Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the White Sox had a chance to rally to tie or beat Scott Alexander in the ninth inning when they had runners on the corners and nobody out in the ninth. Alas, Yoan Moncada popped out, Jose Abreu popped out, and Matt Davidson grounded out.

With today’s game tied at 3 in the top of the ninth and Alexander again on the mound, two of those hitters got another chance. Tim Anderson started it with a one-out single, then took second on a wild ball. Presented with another golden opportunity, the top of the order atoned.

Moncada worked a walk, with Anderson stealing on ball four to put runners on the corners with still nobody out. That walk was key, because it left no base open for Abreu. He waited for a sinker he could drive, and he sent a thigh-high outer-half one to center field. Not only was it deep enough to score Anderson, but it also allowed Moncada to advance to second, which paid off when Avisail Garcia shot a single through the middle for a key insurance run.

Juan Minaya didn’t need it, as he worked a clean ninth, but since the Sox already let a 3-0 bleed away over the course of the afternoon, an extra run didn’t hurt. Here’s the followed-from-work bullet points:

*Lucas Giolito survived without his best stuff, although the combination of poor Kansas City baserunning and crisp White Sox defense allowed him to walk away from two first-inning walks.

Whit Merrified did his job for the first half of the trip around the bases, leading off with a walk and stealing second. But his first step went back to second on a Lorenzo Cain single through the middle, and he would’ve scored if he knew where the infielders were positioned. That turned out to matter, because when the Royals tried a double steal, Anderson charged the throw to second and fired back home in time to get Merrifield by plenty.

Anderson then snagged a soft Sal Perez liner with a sno-cone grab, so he factored heavily into the score of this one.

*The Royals were sloppier early and late. For instance, a Perez passed ball moved two runners into scoring position, both of which came around to score on an Adam Engel double for a 2-0 lead in the second.

The Sox extended the lead to 3-0 off Eric Skoglung in the third, and all after two outs. Garcia kept the inning alive with a double, Matt Davidson walked, and Tyler Saladino singled a run home.

*Giolito’s final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP. He threw just 54 of 93 pitches for strikes, and got only six swinging strikes all game. Somehow, he limited the damage to a solo homer by Perez in the sixth inning among other hard contact later.

*Giolito probably should have given up a second run, as he left Alex Gordon on base for the bullpen. A Gregory Infante walk moved Gordon to second, and a single by Lorenzo Cain should’ve scored Gordon, but another bad read meant he could only make it to third. In came Aaron Bummer, who got Melky Cabrera to fly out to shallow center, then Eric Hosmer to ground to third. Credit Tyler Saladino making a nifty pick on a tough hop.

*The bullpen wasn’t so fortunate in the eighth. Danny Farquhar gave up singles to two of the first three batters he faced to put runners on the corners. One scored on an Alcides Escobar single, while Terrance Gore moved up to second. He stole third, then came home on Gordon’s weak groundout, which tied the game.

Minaya entered the game and plunked Whit Merrifield, then allowed a supposed stolen base to Escobar. However, a replay showed that Saladino conked him on the head with a tag before he slid in safely.

*Anderson and Moncada reached base six times between them at the top of the order — Anderson with two singles, and Moncada with two singles, the walk and an HBP.

Record: 58-87 | Box score