Tonight marked the ninth time in 2020 that the White Sox failed to homer.
They improved their record to 4-5 in such games, so hey, maybe their offense isn’t as reliant on the long ball as you think.
Or maybe Kansas City’s pitching staff just affords more opportunities than most. The White Sox have scored 16 runs in their two homerless games against the Royals, and a total of 13 runs in the other seven.
Either way, the White Sox to holding first place for themselves. Cleveland lost to Milwaukee, so the Sox now lead the division by a half-game over the Tribe and Minnesota, which swept its doubleheader against Detroit.
As is the standard with White Sox-Royals games in 2020, it was a three-hour, 42-minute slog. Dane Dunning had less command than we’ve seen from him, as he issued four walks over 4⅔ innings while throwing 88 pitches.
Also, Alex Colomé didn’t help matters. He entered with two outs in the eighth with a four-run lead, and ended it 40 pitches later by getting the potential tying run to hit a swinging bunt that James McCann fielded in time for a bang-bang 2-3 putout.
Set those stumbles aside, and the game was a triumph for an offense that applied steady pressure to Brady Singer and the KC bullpen throughout the evening. The Sox went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, but it didn’t feel that bad for a number of reasons:
- They hit two sac flies.
- The Royals contributed one count of #WILDPITCHOFFENSE.
- The Sox twice doubled home a runner from first.
They could have used another hit here or there for a real knockout blow, but the body of work was sufficient to the task. The Sox outhit the Royals 14-9, they reached four more times on three walks and an HBP, everybody in the White Sox lineup reached base at least once, and they ended up scoring in six of nine innings as a result.
It’s a shame Dunning couldn’t get the W, but he wasn’t quite himself. He struggled with fastball command, especially with two strikes, and he could have fared far worse than the three runs he allowed. He escaped a collapse in the fourth by stranding the bases loaded with a popout and a groundout, so when he walked Alex Gordon with two outs and gave up a single to Edward Olivares on his 88th pitch, Rick Renteria came out with the hook.
Codi Heuer went four up, four down in relief of Dunning, and on just 10 pitches. That’s the same amount of outs as Colomé recorded on just a quarter of the pitch count.
*Nick Madrigal once again tormented Singer with a couple of soft singles to center, one of which scored a run. He also had an active night in the field, covering ground to flag down a few pop-ups.
*José Abreu seized the league lead in RBIs at 38 with a two-run double.
*Eloy Jiménez scored Luis Robert from first on his double, part of a 3-for-5 night that hopefully brings an end to his slump.
*Tim Anderson owned the only misplay in the field, firing home on a fielder’s choice instead of getting the first out for Dunning in the fourth. The throw was in time, but McCann had to go across his body to apply the tag behind him, and it didn’t appear that he was set up optimally for a shorter path. Home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn said McCann didn’t connect with his swipe, and had the Sox challenged it, there probably wouldn’t have been conclusive evidence in either direction.
*The White Sox are now 7-1 against the Royals this season.