Although it was quiet offensively at first, both teams were able to get their bats to wake up to battle into extras, but it wasn’t enough. This loss also snapped the 17-game win streak the White Sox held against left-handed starting pitchers.
Dylan Cease and Mike Minor battled on the mound today, to a draw. Cease had two strikeouts in the top of the first inning, followed by Minor allowing a single to José Abreu in the bottom, but nothing else. Cease followed up with another two strikeouts in the second inning, and looked great when it came to his command. His sliders and curveballs also looked outstanding and were key in his strikeouts. The White Sox had a few on in the bottom of the second inning after leadoff walks to Yermín Mercedes and Andrew Vaughn, but were unable to produce.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth that the South Siders were able to get on the board. With two outs, Nick Madrigal hit a single followed by a walk to Danny Mendick. Leadoff hitter Leury García was able to shoot a double down the third-base line to drive in Madrigal and make it 1-0. Unfortunately, that was the only run of the inning.
Minor got the hook after going four innings and allowing four hits and three walks, while also recording four strikeouts. This moved his ERA down to 4.50.
Cease continued to pitch a scoreless game until the top of the fifth. With one out, Kyle Isbel singled, followed by a Michael Taylor single to put runners on first and second. After Nicky Lopez flied out, Whit Merrifield delivered an RBI single to tie the game, 1-1. This would be the end of the day for Cease, as he went 4 2⁄3 innings. Cease was again was inefficient overall, but wasn’t helped by a wonky strike zone, poor defense, and run support. He allowed four hits and three walks against six strikeouts in his outing. He now holds a 3.86 ERA.
Luckily, Michael Kopech was able and was dealing, as usual, going 2 1⁄3 innings, allowing no hits with three strikeouts. Kopech has now pitched 6 1⁄3 innings this year and still holds a 0.00 ERA. He has only allowed one hit in all of his appearances, and has 11 strikeouts overall. He is very reliable in the bullpen, and hopefully we can see him increase his pitch count over time and possibly get back into the starting rotation sooner than later.
Here are some of Kopech’s nasty Ks:
Aaron Bummer came out of the pen to replace Kopech in the top of the eighth. Bummer has looked solid so far this year, but didn’t get off to a strong start this inning in allowing a leadoff walk to Lopez, which led to him stealing second and setting himself up in scoring position. Andrew Benintendi singled with one out to drive in Lopez and give the Royals a 2-1 lead. Codi Heuer replaced Bummer, and quickly got Salvador Perez to strike out. Zack Collins threw Benintendi out trying to steal second on the play, ending the inning.
Jesse Hahn came in for the Royals to start the bottom of the eighth inning. Mercedes, who had gotten walked twice already, started the inning with another leadoff walk. Speaking of walks, the White Sox were able to produce nine walks, and are now leading the American League on the season.
With Vaughn due up next and Nick Williams pinch-running for Mercedes, Tony La Russa made the decision to pinch-hit the veteran, Adam Eaton, AKA Spanky!
With two strikes, Eaton came up clutch and delivered a two-run home run to put the White Sox back in front, 3-2.
Everything seemed to be going well! The crowd was electric, the dugout was fired up, what could possibly go wrong?
Liam Hendriks was given his second save opportunity of the season, and unfortunately, couldn’t get the job done. Although the ball seemed to not be carrying for most of the day, it carried just well over the center-field wall for Carlos Santana as he knocked a solo homer out of the park to tie it, 3-3. Patience, Sox fans. Although this wasn’t the outcome we wanted from Hendriks, it still is only April, and it was only his third appearance in a White Sox uniform.
Greg Holland went up against Abreu in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Abreu was able to draw the walk. Unfortunately, Yoán Moncada grounded into a double play, and then Williams lined out to left field to end the inning.
On to extra innings, which means the well-hated, player-on-second-base rule was in effect. Garrett Crochet got a chance on the mound with Taylor coming back out to start at second base. Lopez advanced Taylor to third on a sacrifice bunt, and Merrifield was intentionally walked. Benintendi laid down another bunt, and this time Crochet wasn’t able to make the play, spiking a throw home despite having plenty of time to nab Taylor. But the run scored, giving the Royals the 4-3 lead.
The White Sox would have one last chance, with Williams starting at second base, in the bottom of the 10th.
Kyle Zimmer replaced Holland and immediately had back-to-back strikeouts, followed by a Madrigal grounder to end the game and strand the runner on second.
Overall, this was a frustrating game both offensively and in the bullpen. It is important that if you have nine walks, you capitalize, but the White Sox didn’t. Multiple runners were on in numerous innings at the beginning of the game, and the bats didn’t get going until the later innings, which wasn’t enough. Also, getting a free runner on second base in the 10th, silly though it is, turned out not to be a gift for the South Siders.
The team will move onto tomorrow and start fresh with a new series, four games hosting Cleveland (tied for first with the Royals). Carlos Rodón will get his second start of the season, and Joe Resis will have the SSS coverage for you.