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Royals 7, White Sox 6: Balk-off completes collapse

The South Siders blew a six-run lead in Kansas City

Crushing it: Yoán Moncada hit a two-run homer to help build a big lead — before things took a losing turn.
| Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Despite an enormous second inning, the White Sox (53-86) failed to hold on against the Royals (44-96), who completed a sizable comeback of seven unanswered runs in Kansas City.

After a scoreless first inning thrown by starters Dylan Cease and Brady Singer, the White Sox wasted no time against Singer in the second. Andrew Vaughn led off with a rare infield single to set up Yoán Moncada with an RBI opportunity that he took full advantage of: Moncada drilled his sixth home run this season, and that 430-foot blast gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead. After a slow start to the season, Moncada has heated up lately, as his OPS is now up to .695.

Later in the inning, with two outs and nobody on, Elvis Andrus and Oscar Colás hit back-to-back singles to extend the inning to Korey Lee. In the early stages of Lee’s career, he has not hit MLB pitching well overall, but that changed during this at-bat.

Lee’s first MLB home run traveled 415 feet, and it was a no-doubter that would have been a home run in every MLB park. The clout gave the White Sox a five-run cushion. Congratulations to Lee on this accomplishment, and hopefully, this home run will be the first of many.

The White Sox continued to launch the ball in the third, when Andrew Vaughn contributed to the clubbing. Vaughn extended the lead to six with his 437-footer, and that was his 18th home run of the season — a new career high.

Dylan Cease and the South Siders finally met some resistance in the bottom of the third, when Kansas City got on the board. Maikel García led off with a triple before scoring on a two-out single by MJ Melendez. The Royals continued to show signs of life in the fourth, when Nelson Velazquez and Michael Massey launched a solo home run apiece to trim KC’s deficit to three. Then, in the fifth, Cease allowed one more deep fly ball. This time, it was Melendez who hit a solo homer to make the score 6-4. After allowing two singles in the sixth, Cease was removed with one out, and reliever Bryan Shaw took over on the mound.

Shaw made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, which allowed the runners to advance 90 feet. Suddenly, the potential tying run was in scoring position with one out. After a productive ground out that drove in a run, Shaw struck García out to preserve a razor-thin lead.

Shaw pitched a scoreless seventh, and Aaron Bummer pitched a scoreless eighth, so entering the bottom of the ninth, the White Sox were still clinging to a 6-5 lead. Gregory Santos came on for the save opportunity, and things did not go according to plan.

Nick Sandlin reached on a throwing error by Tim Anderson to open the inning. The Royals built on that with a single by Massey to put two on with no outs. García laid down a bunt that allowed pinch-runner Dairon Blanco to advance to third, although Massey was out at second. Kansas City had runners on the corners with one out, still down by one.

From there, Bobby Witt Jr. doubled to drive in the tying run, and the Royals were not done. They had the winning run on third base with only one out. Salvador Pérez lined out, and the White Sox issued an intentional walk to Melendez. Just like that, the bases were loaded with two outs. Up to the plate stepped Edward Olivares, who ... did not have to do anything for the Royals to walk it off. Santos balked home the winning run, and the comeback was complete.

Yep, just one of those seasons. I wish I was surprised by this outcome, but I am not.

The White Sox will try to avoid being swept tomorrow evening in Kansas City. The probable starting pitchers are Touki Toussaint (4.87 ERA, 5.26 FIP, 0.1 fWAR) and Jordan Lyles (6.29 ERA, 5.70 FIP, 0.1 fWAR). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. Central.


Who was the White Sox MVP?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Aaron Bummer: 1 1⁄3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 17.2% WPA
    (1 vote)
  • 21%
    Andrew Vaughn: 3-for-5, HR, 5.5% WPA
    (17 votes)
  • 28%
    Yoán Moncada: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 18.2% WPA
    (22 votes)
  • 48%
    Korey Lee: 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 5.6% WPA
    (38 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now


Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Gregory Santos: 2⁄3 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, walk-off balk, -78.9% WPA
    (30 votes)
  • 7%
    Eloy Jiménez: 0-for-5, K, -7.4% WPA
    (6 votes)
  • 12%
    Dylan Cease: 5 1⁄3 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 8 H, 2 BB, 7 K, -8.8% WPA
    (11 votes)
  • 44%
    Tim Anderson: 1-for-5, key ninth-inning throwing error, -5.4% WPA
    (38 votes)
85 votes total Vote Now
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