It would be easier to report what didn’t happen in this one, which was the Chicago White Sox didn’t get a sweep of the Royals. But it took roughly a gazillion blown opportunities and a whole bunch of weirdness to get to that result.
The old writing advice is that if you don’t know where to start, start at the beginning and just keep going until the end. So, let’s go chronologically.
The game started as you’d expect in a face-off between two pitchers who had already this season dominated the lineups they were facing. Lucas Giiolito for the Sox and Brad Keller for the Royals were both lights-out early.
Giolito was especially strong, hitting his spots, mixing his pitches, striking out the side around a HBP in the first. Lucas cruised through 2 2⁄3 innings, yielding just a walk, but then stumbling awkwardly off the mound while facing Alex Gordon. He was taken out of the game as a precautionary measure, with a report he had hamstring tightness and is day-to-day.
That brought in Ryan Burr with indefinite warm-up time, the first step in turning what looked like a game that was Buehrle-esque into one more of a baseball burlesque, which would drag out well into rush hour.
The Sox struck first, in the bottom of the fourth. José Abreu walked, followed by an Eloy Jiménez double into the left field corner. For some reason, most likely insanity, Nick Capra sent the slothlike Abreu home against the combined arms of Gordon and Adalberto Mondesi. The relay got to home in time for Martin Maldonado to catch it, start to autograph it, take it over to the bench to find a pen that worked, come back and tag Abreu out by 15 feet.
There was atonement of sorts, though, when Tim Anderson sent a blast more than 400 feet in to the left field stands.
You can just see the start of Timmy’s bat flip, or maybe more of a spike. If you’re on the Sox side, it was all good fun, if not, it was a lot more in-your-face than flip-of-glee. Either way, it was an important moment.
After the blast, the White Sox loaded the bases, including another bizarre send of James McCann to third on a Yolmer Sánchez single that only succeeded because the throw was dropped. But Leury García whiffed, and the Sox had three of their 14 — yes, 14 — LOBs for the day.
The Royals tied it up in the top of the fifth off Burr and Josh Osich, making his first White Sox appearance, with the help of errors by Anderson and Adam Engel. They, too, left the sacks full, though they only totaled 10 strandees for the game.
In the Sox half, Yoán Moncada singled and stole second, but the throw hit him right on the side of the head, smacking helmet and ear. After being checked out, Moncada stayed in the game, but did eventually leave in the seventh, after which the Sox reported he didn’t suffer a concussion.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Keller nailed Anderson right where he sits. Timmy naturally took umbrage, since the throw had about a 99% chance of being deliberate. Benches cleared, baseball-style brawl ensued (baseball-style meaning there was a lot of shoving and jostling), though not nearly as much as at a typical Red Line stop on the evening rush.
When it was over, Anderson and Keller were ejected, along with both managers and, apparently, an assortment of coaches. Benetti and Stoney were flabbergasted that Timmy got the heave-ho, but, in fairness to Joe West (now there’s something I thought I’d never write) the ejection didn’t come until well into the confrontation, so it may have been Anderson’s later Yosemite Samming actions that got him the rest of the day off, not the immediate response to getting plunked. Keller’s exit meant Ian Kennedy got all the time he needed to warm up, as fans started staring at their watches.
In the top of the seventh, José Ruiz committed the ultimate no-no of walking Billy Hamilton, but Hamilton didn’t need to steal, because Ruiz then walked Mondesi and Hunter Dozier singled the speedster home, 3-2 Royals.
In the bottom half, García walked and Daniel Palka pinch-hit for the dazed Moncada, leading to a miracle — Palka got a hit. It was the cheapest possible hit, a broken-bat flare to where a shortstop would be but for the shift, but, what the heck, a hit, making him 1-for-33 on the season. A passed ball put runners on second and third with nobody out, but the heart of the White Sox order couldn’t even manage a fair ball — two Ks and a foul pop.
The top of the eighth was notable for picking off pinch runner Terrance Gore. In the Sox half Jose Rondón got a dribbler single, McCann walked, Sánchez was safe on a perfect bunt, and after Engel squibbed a force play at home, García tied it up with a single to right.
We'll be needing extra innings to decide this one.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 17, 2019
Here's how we tied it up in the 8th. pic.twitter.com/KGNpAcfObx
Palka returned to form with a double play to end the inning, so the White Sox only left two on officially, which they also did in the ninth.
Nate Jones came in for the 10th and naturally gave up a homer to Dozier, the first batter he faced. The Sox rolled over quietly in the bottom of the inning.
Palka, fittingly, made the last out. Apparently the Sox were just wanting not to send Palka down batting .000, and they shipped him to Charlotte after the game. His replacement will be named before tomorrow’s afternoon clash in Detroit.
Iván Nova gets that start. If form holds, he’ll be lights-out, as the game is outside of Chicago. Game time is 12:10 Central, and WGN has the TV and radio.