In a turn uncommon for them, the Chicago White Sox came from behind late against the Kansas City Royals on Monday via the coattails of Alexei Ramirez’s clutch ninth-inning single, Chris Sale’s gem, and Jordan Danks’ 11th-inning home run.
The Sox, who were held hitless by James Shields until a Jeff Francoeur blunder in the sixth inning, finally strung a few hits together and stole the game away, winning 2-1.
The game was a tale of two halves. After Shields (8 IP, 0 ER) battled Sale (7.1 IP, 1 ER) into the eighth inning as part of a breezy pitcher’s duel, Kansas City’s usually stellar bullpen collapsed. Greg Holland, the team’s everyday closer, blew his second save of the year after allowing four hits and a run through one inning, and Kelvin Herrera, their 23-year-old flamethrower, surrendered the homer to Danks while in his second inning of work.
It could be the turn of luck Chicago needs to spark its offense, and the spark itself was a bit of a surprise.
After Ramirez hit a seventh-inning fly-ball down the left field line that looked like it was wrongly called foul, Danks, who came into the game as a pinch-runner, hit just his second career homer off a Herrera two-seamer. If you overlook Sox fans’ immediate subjection to Hawk Harrelson’s horrific home run call, it was a turn of luck not usually seen in Chicago.
The Sox still have a long way to go. The win advances them to 13-17, but they’ve still scored the third-fewest runs in the American League and still trail the Detroit Tigers by six games in the AL Central. Adam Dunn’s still hitting below the Mendoza line and Paul Konerko’s at .225, but if their bullpen can keep them in games until these slow starts speed up, Chicago might be hanging around into the summer.
For KC, the loss sends them to 17-11, but shines light on some of the team’s small holes. They still have a few young hitters struggling and still don’t have a right fielder who can field the position. Despite a short hint of a rebound, third baseman Mike Moustakas continued his disappointing season. He went 0-4 in four at-bats vs. lefties and looked ridiculous in a seventh-inning strikeout against Sale.
On the other side of the diamond, Francoeur committed an error in the fifth and dropped a ball the following inning that broke up Shields’ then-no-hitter. Some might even say that Ramirez’s game-tying single should have been fielded cleanly by Chris Getz for a game-ending ground-out.
Today was just a make-up game from a prior rainout. Chicago will be heading to Queens for a Tuesday game vs. the New York Mets, and the Royals will be on their way for a three-game set in Baltimore.
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