Sox give K.C. a Royal pain, 5-3
Yeah, the Sox beat the Royals 5-3, improved to 13-0 against lefty starters, stayed in first place, all that good stuff.
But watch this:
Don't believe it? Let's look at it again:
That catch by Luis Robert off Maikel Franco in the ninth didn't save the game, since the Sox were up 5-3 at the time and no one was on base, but it sure did give everybody a chance to see just how amazing baseball can be.
The rest of the game wasn't all that amazing. Great that the Sox won, but Kansas City is at best a AAAA team, and with Whit Merrifield in a huge slump — he's in a 1-for-26 slump — you can cut a couple of A's off that.
The Sox got off to a quick start — really quick — with Tim Anderson hitting a double on the first pitch from Kris Bubic and José Abreu knocking one 425 feet and over the fence two batters later, extending his hitting streak to 19 games in the process.
The two runs weren't quite enough to ice the game, though, even with Lucas Giolito on the mound. That game icing came thanks to Royals third baseman Franco, who had a James McCann one-hopper in his glove in the fifth, but decided to let it go its merry way. Bubic got the next two batters and should have been out of the inning, but then Anderson hit a dribbler down third that looked like it would go foul and Franco decided to play it anyway, to no avail. Franco's wild throw scored McCann; granted essentially five outs, the Sox celebrated with a 436-foot bomb by Yasmani Grandal.
Can't fault Ricky Renteria's lineup in this one. The top three — Anderson, Grandal, Abreu — went 5-for-11 and a walk, with five RBIs and four runs. The rest of the team went 0-for-22.
Good thing, too, because Giolito, who'd thrown 97 pitches over six and allowed only three hits including a Bubba Starling solo shot, was sent back out for the seventh and gave up a single to Ryan O'Hearn and a double to Franco, who, to be fair, knocked the cover off the ball multiple times to try to make up for his fielding mistakes.
That made it 5-2, and out went Giolito. Ross Detwiler gave up an RBI single to Adalberto Mondesi, making it 5-3 and leading to perhaps the key play of the game, even bigger than Robert's catch or the two dingers. Detwiler picked Mondesi off of first, but the runner headed for second and beat the throw. Nick Madrigal kept the tag on for about an hour and a half, and, sure enough, replay showed Mondesi's foot came off the bag and he was out. End of KC momentum.
Basically, that was that. Alex Colomé did his best to make the ninth exciting closeness-wise, but instead it was exciting defense-wise. Did I mention Robert's catch?
Thank goodness for Kansas City
And Detroit and Pittsburgh.
Two-thirds of the way through the season, the White Sox are now 16-2 against those three teams, 9-13 against everybody else. Thanks are due to what TeamRankings.com's computer calls the second-softest schedule in MLB (Twins have the softest).
You're supposed to beat up on bad teams and hold your own against the good ones, so at least the Sox have that first part down. Won't be helpful come the playoffs (which the Sox currently have a 99% chance of making) but it's very helpful to get there.
Celebrating against the really bad teams has six more chances — K.C. tomorrow afternoon, with Dallas Keuchel pitching, the Pirates Tuesday and Wednesday, then Detroit for three (yeah, I know the Tigers are almost at .500, but fluky things happen — Adam Sandler even did a good acting job once).
After that — don't ask, you don't want to know.