When you spot the other team leads of 3-0 and 4-1, it helps a lot to be facing the pitcher who has given up the most runs in the majors.
It also helps to have Tim Anderson and Luis Robert on your side.
Vince Velasquez handed Kansas City the early lead on a two-run homer by Hunter Dozier in the first and a Nicky Lopez double in the second, all three runs helped by (wait for it ... ) sloppy Sox defense. The homer followed what should have been a double play but was a little slow to develop, letting Bobby Witt Jr., beat out the relay (on review) for what would have been the third out, and the double followed a Kyle Isbel single that should have been an E-6, and would itself have been s single if Robert hadn’t been slow to the ball.
Both Anderson and Robert made up for those lapses, big-time.
Tim had a whole bunch of deuces wild on the day — two walks (yes, really, for just the ninth time in his career), two stolen bases, two hits, two RBIs. The first walk led off the game, the first time this season that’s happened for TA. The second came in the third, after which Anderson stole second and third, leading to Robert batting with two outs.
Two more walks, including the second of the day for José Abreu, loaded the bases, but Gavin Sheets flew out to left. The Royals took the lead up to 4-1 when Dozier drove in Witt, but that didn’t last.
In the fourth, the Sox reeled off four straight singles — OK, the first was really an E-5 on an Andrew Vaughn grounder, but there was an extremely generous official scorer on the job today. The last hit was by Anderson, driving in Vaughn and Reese McGuire, who had gotten on via a really nifty two-strike bunt down the vacant left side. The bases loaded again when Robert was hit by a pitch, but Abreu struck out and AJ Pollock grounded out.
That, incidentally, left the Sox 1-for-24 (or thereabouts) for the season with the bases full. Obviously, the next time they have someone at each base with less than two outs, a runner should just step off and volunteer to be tagged, because they’re much better with two on.
Meanwhile, Velasquez regained his composure enough to last through five innings, trailing just 4-3. Robert evened it up by driving in Josh Harrison in the sixth, so Velasquez was off the hook, and Bennett Sousa picked up the win when Adam Engel knocked in Pollock with an RBI single in the seventh, the first time a White Sox pinch-hitter has succeeded this season, in five tries.
No White Sox reliever had a clean inning, though, so it’s a good thing Robert got a hanging slider with Yoán Moncada on base in the eighth.
Joe Kelly had been hit hard in the seventh, but a leap by Harrison knocked down a shot by Whit Merrifield and got the out at first on review, which was fortunate because Andrew Benintendi followed with a ground-rule double. Kendall Graveman also got hit hard in the eighth, but got out of it on a double play, and Liam Hendriks gave up two singles to put the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but escaped as well.
The White Sox had 14 hits, five walks, and one hit batter, and the Royals had 11 hits. All that, and they got it done in less than four hours, which didn’t look possible midway through.
The win brings the Sox back to .500 on the season once again, as well as 4-4 on the year with the Royals. They now hopefully have momentum as they head to the Bronx and the Yankees, who were walked off by the Orioles, of all teams, this afternoon.