After the 12 inning affair last night, the Royals and Chicago White Sox got underway with a day game. Left-hander Jeff Francis matches up against the White Sox Mark Buehrle.
White Sox: Pierre (DH), Beckham (2B), Rios (CF), Konerko (1B), Quentin (RF), Ramirez (SS), Milledge (RF), Castro (C), and Morel (3B)
Royals: Aviles (3B), Cabrera (CF), Gordon (LF), Butler (DH), Ka’aihue (1B), Francoeur (RF), Escobar (SS), Pena (C), and Getz (2B)
Alex Gordon doubles again…giving the Royals a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Billy Butler follows with an RBI single off Buehrle. 2-0 Royals. Buehrle strikes out Kila for his first strikeout of the season (it’s his second start).
With one out in the 2nd, Quentin hit a single and Ramirez followed with a ball hit down the left field line. Quentin tried to go first-to-third, but was thrown out by Gordon at third base. Francis strikes out Milledge with a runner on second base to end the threat.
Buehrle had a quick bottom of the second (8 pitches). Still 2-0 Royals.
Francis has an even quicker 3rd inning, just 7 pitches.
Defense killing Buehrle early on. Now Ramirez boots an Aviles ground ball leading off the 3rd. Cabrera follows with a pitcher’s best friend: a double-play ball. After a two walk to Gordon, Butler grounds out to end the 3rd. 2-0 Royals.
Beckham walks to lead off the 4th. Rios follows with a bloop single as Beckham goes to third. Francis battles back to strike out Konerko. Quentin flies out but Beckham didn’t dare test the arm of Francoeur in right field. Francis then strikes out Ramirez to end the inning.
Escobar hits a shot off the left field wall to drive in Francoeur all the way from first base with one out. 3-0 Royals. Pena follows with an RBI single. 4-0 Royals. And Pena sneaks into second base on the throw home. Getz follows with a single, sending Pena to third. The Royals are starting to consistently hit Buehrle. The Royals need to cash in with men on third base & it always seems that Aviles is up in those situations. This time he hits a little dribbler that Beckham ‘tags’ Getz running by but the throw to first base pulled Konerko off the bag. Aviles is ruled safe, thus finally driving in a runner from third base. 5-0 Royals. White Sox catcher Ramon Castro picks Aviles off of first base to end the 4th.
Shut down inning for Francis? He’s having trouble throwing strikes after getting the quick first out (though he did get a double-play ball that his ‘D’ couldn’t turn). Pierre follows with a bloop single, sending Morel to third base. But Francis comes back with a strikeout of Beckham to end the threat. Shut down inning complete (though it took awhile).
The Royals continue their aggressive baserunning as Cabrera turns a single into a double to lead off the bottom of the 5th. But Gordon strikes out for the first out. After an intentional walk to Butler, Ka’aihue follows with a fly out to center, moving Cabrera to third base. However, Francoeur grounds out to end the 5th. 5-0 Royals.
Very quick 6th inning for Francis. Konerko gets a base hit with one out, but Francis turns an inning-ending double-play off the bat of Quentin. Just 8 pitches.
New pitcher for the White Sox in the bottom of the 6th: Philip Humber. Buehrle allowed five runs on eight hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out two.
Pena collects another hit with a one out single. Getz hits a foul pop and a guy catches it and receives a big kiss from his girlfriend/wife. Awwww. Anyway, on the next pitch, Getz beats out a potential double-play grounder to keep the inning alive. Then he proceeds to steal second base. Sliders down and away continue to pester Aviles. Aviles pops up to left field to end the 6th. 5-0 Royals.
Very few hard hit balls off Francis so far, except for Ramirez’ line drive to third for the first out in the 7th. And the shutout is over as Castro homers with two outs in the 7th (fastball right down the middle). Morel follows with a two out single, which brings manager Ned Yost for a visit. Francis’ day is over after 6.2 innings. Francis allowed two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts.
In comes lefty Tim Collins for the Royals to face Pierre. Pierre greets Collins rudely with an RBI double. 5-2 Royals. Pierre then steals third base. But Collins gets Beckham out on a little dribbler to end the inning.
Cabrera pops up and Gordon follows with a ground ball to first base that Konerko makes a bad flip to Humber covering the bag. Gordon is safe and thankfully for White Sox fans, Humber is okay. Butler works a one out walk. Ka’aihue hits a fly ball to left field for the second out, but his HUGE back swing clocks Castro on the side of the head. Another scary moment for White Sox fans, but he’s okay. Francoeur lines out to end the 7th. 5-2 Royals.
Robinson Tejeda is the new pitcher for the Royals. He gets away with a pitch up to Rios, who flies out to left field. Konerko grounds out to shortstop. Quentin follows with a homerun into the Royals bullpen on a pitch down and in (his hot zone). 5-3 Royals. Ramirez strokes a single to left field on an 0-2 pitch. Pinch-hitter Mark Teahen (a former Royal) flies out to end the inning.
New pitcher for the White Sox in the 8th is lefty Will Ohman. Escobar singles to lead off the inning, but Ohman gets Pena to hit into a double-play. Getz (a left-handed hitter) walks. Ohman has struggled a ton so far in 2011, after pitching so well for the Orioles last season. He’s such a good guy that I hate seeing him struggle. More poor defense for the White Sox. Aviles hits a fly ball to new left fielder Teahen for the final out, but he drops the ball, allowing Getz to score. 6-3 Royals. Cabrera grounds out to end the 8th.
SORIA time. He induces a ground out from pinch-hitter AJ Pierzynski. One out. And another ground ball out from Morel. Two out. Pierre singles to right field. Beckham, who is 0-for-3 in his career against Soria, walks. Rios hits a hard hit ball into the hole between third & short, but Aviles dives and the ball kicks away. Pierre just scores (as he had no idea where the ball was). 6-4 Royals with the tying run on first base. Konerko hits an RBI single as Rios goes first to third. 6-5 Royals. Quentin delivers for the White Sox with a two-run double as the White Sox take a 7-6 lead. Two outs and no one on base, the White Sox score four runs.
So can the Royals win another game in their final at-bat????
Matt Thornton on for the White Sox save. Gordon strikes out for the first out. Butler singles, which brings Jarrod Dyson in to run at first base. Stolen base for Dyson. KILA bloops a single over third base to tie the game at 7-7. He hustles into second base. The White Sox elect to walk Francoeur to face Escobar. Escobar grounds into a fielder’s choice (an ill-advised throw by Beckham to first base but a nice stop by Konerko saves a run), putting runners at first and third for Pena.Â Pena grounds out to send the game into extra innings.
It looks like rookie Jeremy Jeffress will be coming in for the 10th.
*I’ll have a post-game recap later on tonight. I’m headed to Wilmington for the Blue Rocks Fan Fest tonight.