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White Sox 7, Royals 6: 1-0 in the Kopech Era

Narváez clocks the game-tying homer and game-winning single, while the bullpen is spotless for seven innings

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox
Comeback Kid: Omar Narváez watches his game-tying home run in the fourth; in the fifth, his single would provide the GWRBI.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Well, it looks like we have a new candidate for best day of the season.

Up until now, it seems the hands-down winner was the Opening Day comeback at the Kansas City Royals, 14-7 — the three Matty D homers game, the TA two-blast game, whatever you want to call it.

Thankfully, on Sunday the Royals were back in town, and their mere presence as the opposition precipitated a stirring, 7-6 comeback win.

Oh, and the comeback got on its horse right around the time the top pitching prospect in the Chicago White Sox system and top-10 prospect in all of baseball, Michael Kopech, was announced as Tuesday’s starter at Sox Park vs. the Minnesota Twins.

Coincidence? Well, let’s just say if the White Sox get down early during tomorrow night’s makeup game in Minnesota, just for kicks, let’s try calling up Eloy and see if another comeback is generated.

Sunday started out as rough as could be. The Royals hammered Reynaldo López for six runs in the second inning, knocking him out after just 58 pitches with a game score of seven (his second-worst start all season). All six runs were earned, off of three home runs.

After that, it was flashed on the big board that Kopech was coming — and the comeback commenced.

The White Sox struck back for six in the fourth inning, like K.C. with all the scoring coming by way of the long ball. After singles by José Abreu and Daniel Palka, Avisail Garcia took a meatball of a 1-1 fastball deep, cutting the deficit to 6-3. Nicky Delmonico then singled, and Tim Anderson chased that with a two-run shot that made the score 6-5. Still without a single out in the inning, Omar Narváez then homered to tie the game and knock Royals starter Heath Fillmyer from the game. Adam Engel greeted reliever Brian Flynn with a single, making it seven straight hits for the White Sox, until, oh, you can smell this coming, Yoán Moncada was out on a sacrifice bunt.

No further runs were scored in the fourth.

But in the very next inning, Narváez singled in García with two outs, getting thrown out at second base after García had already crossed the plate.

That was fortunate, because not another run scored in the game. Hector Santiago earned the win with four innings of six-K, scoreless ball, and an arsenal of five White Sox relievers (I italicize that, like it’s shocking) tied up the final three innings of the game, which ended with Jace Fry whiffing two Royals to earn his second career save.

The big news was obviously Kopech’s callup, and keep checking in on Michael Kenny’s breaking story from this afternoon and our coverage tomorrow for updates on the situation. The main question pressing at the moment, if we can sidestep the obvious (why not Eloy, too?): Postgame, Ricky Renteria said the rotation will remain at five men, which points to a trade (James Shields) or a demotion (Dylan Covey to Charlotte, or to the pen?).

Stay tuned. There’s a lot of fun, excitement, and initial celebration — as well as tomorrow night’s makeup game in Minneapolis — to come before Tuesday.