Nine days of rest and on the tenth day, the Chicago White Sox received dominance from their young starter Chris Sale. Sale improved to 13-3 after the extended rest as the White Sox beat the visiting KC Royals, 4-2.
The only bumps in the game for Sale were the two solo homeruns he allowed: one to Jeff Francoeur in the 5th inning and one to Billy Butler in the 7th inning that gave the Royals a 2-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Royals starter Luis Mendoza matched Sale inning for inning. He gave up an AJ Pierzynski RBI double in the 2nd inning and a Paul Konerko solo homerun to lead off the bottom of the 7th inning that tied the game at 2-2.
Then the 8th inning happened.
The Royals had runners at the corners with nobody out and Alex Gordon lined out. Alcides Escobar then tried the squeeze play, but Sale pounced on it and tagged Tony Abreu out before he even got near the plate to slide. Lorenzo Cain struck out and the threat was over.
Mendoza went back out for the bottom of the 8th inning, but with one out, Gordon Beckham hit a homerun to give the White Sox the lead. Manager Ned Yost stuck with Mendoza and he gave up another run after a walk and an RBI double by Kevin Youkilis. Lefty Tim Collins finally came in and got out of the jam.
The Royals had their chance in the 9th inning against closer Addison Reed. They had runners at first and second base with Eric Hosmer at the plate. Instead, he tried to pull a down and outside pitch, only to ground into the game-ending double play.
The Royals out-hit the White Sox, but went just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
*Bye, bye Mijares. The Royals said good-bye to lefty reliever Jose Mijares, as he was claimed off waivers by the SF Giants. He will join former outfielder Melky Cabrera in St. Louis. Fellow left reliever Francisley Bueno was recalled to take his place.
**Yost had a closed door team meeting prior to tonight’s opener, but obviously it din’t help. He voiced displeasure on Sunday of the losing culture attitude.
***For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Hit Girl.