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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals
Breaking the ice: Luis Robert Jr. launched a home run to break up a shutout (and perfect game) in the fourth inning.
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White Sox 4, Royals 2: Rain delay does not slow down Giolito

Luis Robert Jr. and Andrew Vaughn both crushed a long home run during the victory

Thanks to some power hitting and another strong start by Lucas Giolito, the White Sox (13-24) evened up the series in Kansas City against the Royals (10-27).

After a two-hour rain delay, the game got started at 8:40 p.m. Central. Once things got underway, the starting pitchers made sure that the fans did not go home too late. Starters Lucas Giolito and Jordan Lyles were quite efficient, going right after hitters and not wasting any time. The teams combined for two walks the entire game.

The only early trouble that either pitcher ran into was in the bottom of the first, when Vinnie Pasquantino launched his seventh home run this season. Fortunately, it was a solo shot, so the White Sox remained within striking distance.

The White Sox offense had a ton of trouble against Lyles the first time through the lineup. In fact, Lyles retired the first 11 batters he faced, and Kansas City’s one-run lead appeared to be about as safe as a one-run lead could be. That changed when Luis Robert Jr. stepped up to the plate for the second time.

That was his eighth home run of the season, and it traveled 430 feet. Robert continues to build on his hot streak, as he has left his slump in the rear-view mirror. Entering this game, Robert was slashing .500/.633/.909 in May.

Meanwhile, Giolito recovered from the home run he allowed in the first. The tall righty finished with 18 whiffs, and he used those to record nine strikeouts while issuing only two walks (the only walks of the game). As a result of his excellence, the score remained 1-1 until the sixth.

Lenyn Sosa led off the sixth with a double, and a productive out by Andrew Benintendi pushed Sosa advancing to third. A sacrifice fly would have given the White Sox the lead, but Andrew Vaughn did even more than that.

Vaughn’s 422-foot blast was his fourth of the year, and it gave the White Sox a 3-1 lead. This home run boosted Vaughn’s OPS to .775, and he has eight RBIs in his past three games.

Given the way Giolito was pitching, the lead appeared safe, though the bottom of the sixth was more dramatic than he would have preferred. Bobby Witt Jr. started the inning with a triple, and Pasquantino followed with a softly-hit (65.4 mph exit velocity) Kansas City Special for an RBI single. In most cases, the flare would have been out No. 1, but Pasquantino hit it in just the right spot.

Giolito recovered by striking out Salvador Pérez, but he walked Maikel García and MJ Melendez to load the bases with one out. Suddenly, the pressure was on, but Giolito made the pitches he made when it mattered most. Hunter Dozier popped out, and Freddy Fermin grounded into a force out to end the inning. Even though the Royals scored, the lead was safe at 3-2, Chicago.

In the seventh, Hanser Alberto continued his recent surge at the plate with a double. For a bit, it appeared he would be stranded there, but with two outs, Seby Zavala drove him in with a single.

Down the stretch, Joe Kelly, Reynaldo López, and Kendall Graveman were fantastic. All three of them pitched a perfect inning to preserve the lead. The last 11 Royals hitters of the game were retired, as the last Royal to reach base was Melendez with one out in the sixth.

These two teams will be back at it tomorrow in Kansas City. That will be the third of four games this series, and it is scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m. Central. Lance Lynn (6.86 ERA, 5.00 FIP, 39 1⁄3 innings, 0.4 fWAR) and Brad Keller (4.67 ERA, 5.63 FIP, 34 2⁄3 innings, -0.1 fWAR) are the probable starting pitchers. NBC Sports Chicago and WMVP 1000 AM will cover the game. We hope to see you then.


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