Luis Robert walks the Royals off in extras!
CHICAGO — Dane Dunning was excellent in his second start, but the White Sox bats were cold on Sunday — until they weren't. Luis Robert blasted a walk-off homer, securing a series win for the White Sox.
Not historic, but Dane Dunning allowed no hits
Way back on August 19, when Dane Dunning made his MLB debut agains the Detroit Tigers, he immediately impressed by striking out seven in just more than four innings. He kept that train moving on Sunday afternoon, opening up the game by striking out three Royals in a row. He continued his brilliance through five hitless innings, striking out seven batters and only walking one.
If you're reading this and wondering why he was taken out despite the no-hitter through five? He racked up just a few too many pitches than the Sox were comfortable with for him to continue in only his second career start, and coming back from Tommy John surgery to boot.
Dunning, in only two starts, has probably shown the White Sox more than enough with regard to his future in this starting rotation. Ricky Renteria all but confirmed that postgame, saying that Dunning had earned rotation consideration going forward. On a day that was littered with rumors surrounding the White Sox acquiring a starting pitcher, Dunning may have boosted some fans' confidence in a rotation that will still need some help.
Yoán Moncada's day off
On his day off, he wasn't singing "Twist and Shout" on a float in downtown Chicago, but Yoán Moncada WAS resting a body that hasn't looked quite right all season long. Moncada has been moving all season long as if he was just a play away from landing on the injured list, but Renteria has decided to keep him in the lineup throughout the season. He was given a day off on Sunday, in what may or may not be a common occurrence to keep him fresh for a potential playoff run over the next several weeks.
Madrigal here to stay
There weren't too many bigger Danny Mendick fans out there than me, but when the Sox drafted Nick Madrigal in the first round in 2018, it was clear he was the future at second base.
At this point, the book on Madrigal is pretty well-known: Not a ton of power, a trusty glove at second, makes TONS of contact. In his second game back since his return from the IL he wasted no time continuing to make his mark in the lineup. With two outs and runners on first and second, Madrigal lined an RBI single to right field to put the Sox on the board. He finished with three hits, raising his batting average to a Ted Williams-esque .400.
Even thought the Sox have had a perfectly reliable bullpen this season, Steve Cishek would be the one name Sox fans haven't been able to trust. Even though he had come into Sunday's game riding high with four straight scoreless outings, that streak was snapped after allowing a two-out Whit Merrifield solo shot off the BMO tarp in left field, tying the game 2-2.
I'm not entirely sure why Cishek was brought into such a high-leverage situation, as he hasn't proven himself worthy of those spots so far in a White Sox uniform — especially with more trusted arms rested and available. After his day at the office on Sunday, Cishek raised his ERA and WHIP to a NOT GREAT 6.39 and 1.42.
Throughout his career, Cishek has been one of the more reliable relievers in the game, but his White Sox tenure has shown us he probably can't be trusted in meaningful games.
Postgame, Renteria emphasized the strong outings Cishek has had of late, rather than that two-out homer, so expect more Cishek late.
Attempting to preserve the 2-2 tie, the Sox sent out closer Alex Colomé to pitch in the eighth. It was far from stress-free, as he threw 24 pitches and got into two small jams, but ultimately did his job and kept the score right where it was.
You don't love seeing closers have to pitch outside of save situations, and lots of times they will look like they did on Sunday. But as he often does, Colomé scuffled but kept runs off the board, and that's all that mattered.
Because of the 2020 MLB extra innings rule, the Royals started the top of the 10th inning with Adalberto Mondesí on second base. They quickly squandered the gift runner after James McCann's perfect throw to Mendick to tag out Mondesí, who was trying to steal third. Jace Fry would still have to be rescued after getting into a second-and-third jam, but Matt Foster struck out Hunter Dozier setting the table for ...
With newly-acquired Jarrod Dyson standing on second base, the Royals opted to intentionally walk José Abreu. After McCann struck out, Luis Robert stepped to the plate. Robert had been close on a couple of swings earlier in the game, finally broke through with a walk-off blast to left.
Up until Robert's home run, it was an ugly day offensively for the White Sox.
With the trade deadline fast approaching, the club needs to at least bring in another starter to take some stress off of a rotation rounded out by some talented, but unproven, pitchers.
The White Sox improved to 21-13 and moved back into a first-place tie with Cleveland. The Sox will travel to Minnesota tonight to face off against the Twins Monday through Wednesday, in what is easily the biggest series of the 2020 season.