Nobody, but nobody, snatches defeat away from the jaws of victory quite like the Royals.
The incredible part is that they can do it against the White Sox, nobody’s idea of a Murder’s Row offense, and make it look so charmingly easy. Matt Davidson wasn’t even involved, which is the true irony of ironies.
Royals lost, 7-6.
After dodging a bullet in the first, I thought perhaps Heath Fillmyer had brought the good stuff today. He worked around a one-out Yolmer Sanchez single and four-pitch walk to Jose Abreu to induce a Daniel Palka groundout and a Avisail Garcia pop out to keep the White Sox off the board.
By the time the South Siders went to the plate again, they were down six runs.
The Royals beat Reynaldo Lopez like a piñata in the second inning. Jorge Bonifacio walked; Ryan O’Hearn homered. Hunter Dozier singled; Brett Phillips and Adalberto Mondesi struck out (wait for it) but Whit Merrifield homered too and for funsies, Alex Gordon made it back-to-back job for his season’s ninth and the 189th of his Kansas City career to tie him with Hal McRae for fourth in franchise history.
The good times abruptly stopped for the Royals after Lopez was removed following Bonifacio’s leadoff single in the third—that he even got the chance to surrender that hit shows the good-faith effort Rick Renteria will give to any of his pitcher’s looking to fail. In fact, just six Royals reached base over the final six innings, although even that provided its own set of chances.
In the top of the fourth, Merrifield (single) and Gordon (walk) attempted to start a two-out rally but Salvador Perez struck out to end the inning.
The game would be tied the next time they came to bat.
Abreu and Palka singled to lead off the Chicago fourth, then Garcia thumped a three-run blast to halve the lead. Nicky Delmonico singled before Tim Anderson and Omar Narvaez produced back-to-back homers of their own. Tie game. Adam Engel even singled and moved all the way to third before the Royals could get out of this mess.
An inning later, Narvaez drove in Garcia for what would ultimately be the winning run, although he was cut down advancing to second on a heads-up throw by Perez (the only heads-up thing he did in a platinum sombrero performance at the plate).
Phillips and Mondesi reached via walk and single with one out in the sixth. Phillips also got on via error in the eighth before BERTO hit into a double play. Trash team, who cares?
The ninth was predictable and perfunctory. A top-of-the-lineup rally, you mused? Nah, son. First-pitch flailing, Merrifield popped out to right. Jace Fry replaced Thyago Vieria and struck out Gordon and Perez. The record [doorbell rings] that’s funny, I’ve been handed a cease-and-desist by Rustin Dodd’s attorney, that’s new.
Your Tweet of Despair
The #Royals could score 85 runs and I wouldn’t feel comfortable about the lead.
— Brandon Smith (@bsides11) August 19, 2018
The Bright Spot: Jorge Bonifacio’s average shot all the way up to .225 with a 3-for-4 day. Two scoreless innings got Jason Hammel’s ERA under 6.00.
The Nadir: Giving back all of a six-run lead. I’m not a masochist, there’s no reason to get fancy with this. Although kudos to Salvy for five strikeouts against four pitchers (Lopez twice, Hector Santiago, Jeanmar Gomez, Fry), including three to end an inning or in one case, the game.
The Next Step: A trip to the Trop awaits, as the Royals visit a Tampa Bay team that may not remind anyone of 2008 but should be more than enough to topple a Royals team that would be obliterated by their own 2008 doppelgangers. Jorge Lopez, who was bad in his season’s first start, gets another crack at it, while Ryne Stanek has been great (2.27 ERA and .183 in 32 appearances since the start of June) albeit without a victory to show for it. I’m super-excited to get to see a full series of The Opener (which sounds like a failed TNT series that nevertheless got three seasons); the Rays really hadn’t gone full-throttle on that the last time these two met.