White Sox 5, Royals 2 (10 innings): Luis Robert walk-off preserves perfect record against lefties

White Sox hitters struggled to get all of it for nearly all of this afternoon’s rubber match against the Royals. A few fly balls tied on the warning track, and the other couple well-hit balls couldn’t get the needed lift. Soft contact and half-swing strikes ruled the rest of the day.

Luis Robert found the barrel when … well, not when the White Sox needed it most. Any kind of hit would have scored Jarrod Dyson from second with the game tied at 2 in the 10th inning. Nevertheless, after coming up short of a blast by a few feet earlier in the game, Robert’s lofty fly ball drifted over the head of Alex Gordon, two rows deep into the left-field seats for a three-run walk-off.

In the process, the White Sox improved to 10-0 against left-handed starters, even if the handedness of the starter hasn’t been the distinguishing factor of the past two victories.

For the third time in as many games, Rick Renteria had to try to gut through a close score on more bullpen than he trusted. This time, the short start was by design. Dane Dunning kept Kansas City hitless through five, allowing just a walk while striking out seven. But at 79 pitches, Renteria had already pushed the post-surgery Dunning into an unprecedented area, so he tried to get his bullpen to nurse a 2-0 lead.

Renteria’s choices were interesting. He went with Jimmy Cordero for a third straight day and a fourth straight game, but two of the four batters he faced reached safely, including a Cam Gallagher double that came around to score. Renteria used Evan Marshall in high-leverage fashion, striking out Jorge Soler with the tying run on second to end the sixth, and Marshall then handled the seventh by himself.

But that left the eighth, and Renteria gave Steve Cishek a shot.

Cishek had been walled off from high leverage situations due to his early stumbles, but his last seven outings — one run, four baserunners over six innings — apparently won him another look. It didn’t work, because he gave up a solo shot to Whit Merrifield with two outs in the eighth inning that tied the game.

Alex Colomé fought his way to a scoreless ninth, and Jace Fry and Matt Foster teamed up with Adalberto Mondesi to keep KC off the board in the 10th.

“Isn’t Mondesi on the Royals?” you might be asking. Yes, at least technically. It’s not as clear when considering the choices he made. In the seventh, he ended the inning by popping up a bunt with two outs after a two-out walk. And after he lined out to end the ninth, he started on second base in the 10th … and got caught stealing at third by James McCann.

Fry then started his own jam by walking Nicky Lopez on four pitches, but he struck out Meibrys Viloria on three pitches and worked around Merrifield to get through the three-batter minimum. Up came Hunter Dozier, and in came Matt Foster, who struck him out on three fastballs to get the game to the bottom of the inning.

Jarrod Dyson pinch-ran for Yasmani Grandal, but that wasn’t needed. The Royals issued an intentional walk to José Abreu to start the double play, but McCann struck out.

Robert did the opposite. Zuber, who seemed preoccupied with Dyson on second throughout the inning, finally came at Robert with a slider. But it split the plate while staying above the knees, and Robert launched it out to left to end the game.

In regulation, the White Sox were limited to single runs in the second and third innings off Kris Bubic.

McCann started the second with a walk, moved to third on Adam Engel’s two-out single, then scored on Nick Madrigal’s two-out single for the game’s first run.

An inning later, Grandal and Abreu strung together one-out singles, and McCann shot a grounder off Maikel Franco and into foul territory in left field to make it a 2-0 game. Robert stalled the rally by popping out, but he made up for it.

Bullet points:

*Madrigal had a Peak Madrigal day, going 3-for-4 with a stolen base. He took second on Greg Holland while Holland was still in a set position on the mound.

*Tim Anderson, Eloy Jiménez and Danny Mendick all wore silver sombreros, combining to go 0-for-14 with nine strikeouts.

*Jiménez did make a sliding catch in foul territory. It was a circular route because he needed to size up the side wall, but a catch is a catch.

*Dunning topped out at 92.4 mph, but he got seven swinging strikes on his breaking ball to make velocity less of a concern.

*The White Sox head into Minnesota with a share of first place in the AL Central and a 1½-game lead on the Twins.

Record: 21-13 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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GrinnellSteve

Couple of questions for the Minnesota series.

Will McCann get 2 starts in a row behind the plate with Lucas going tomorrow?

Should Madrigal bat second? It looked like Timmy put himself in a bad count by swinging to protect Madrigal when he broke for second. If you flipped the order and had Madrigal batting right after Timmy, you’d have someone who could better handle protecting a fast runner. And you’d have 2 table setters for all the thumpers.

Tense and exciting game. I could use another Giolito no-hitter right about now.

evenyoudorn

Sir, I want a *break* from stress. Give me 13-2.

LuBob DuRob

I thought it might have been a hit and run call. No doubt Madrigal fits the traditional role of two hitter, but I’d vote to move Robert second. The Sox don’t run a lot, so I want my dangerous hitters to hit as much as possible. I’d love to see Robert hitting with Anderson on base and a good bat behind him. Maybe they are worried about him pressing, but it’s getting a little strange seeing him penciled in at 7th.

LuBob DuRob

I guess he was and has been 6th a bit.

mikeyb

Agreed, that seemed like just a dumb hit and run call, rather than Anderson doing something on his own to protect Madrigal.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Moncada is definitely the best choice for the 2-hole in my opinion, but if he’s out I think Eloy is the right choice.

John SF

Making these lineup assumptions based on the idea YoYo is still injured and can put up excellent at bats as always, but can’t be counted on to be his best or run fast.

We’ve got Giolito vs Hill next, followed by Keuchal vs Pineda, and finally Lopez vs Berrios.

Against Hill, I’d say we rest Moncada another day. Hopefully he can come back strong for games 2 and 3.

I would run out:

Giolito vs Hill

    TA7
    Jimenez
    Encarnacion
    Abreu
    Robert
    Madrigal
    McCann
    Mendick
    Engel

But against the two righties I would ask Yo-yo back and restructure thing quite a bit.

    TA7
    Moncada
    Abreu
    Jimenez
    Grandal
    Robert
    Madrigal
    Mazara
    Encarnacion

People dramatically overestimate the whole “turn the lineup over with more top of the order speed” idea. Madrigal should go after Robert because they both feel comfortable in that dynamic, and b/c Madrigal makes tons of contact and Robert hits lots of doubles and triples. Madrigal’s contract is also a good compliment for Grandal and Jimemez’s high OBPs this year and generally. Follow that with high slug/OBP guys and start with the one (Mazara) who has been more OBP followed by the one who has been more slug (EE). This also happens to set the order approximately in order of the xwOBA of all 9 batters perfectly.

Abreu has been so hit you could make an argument for putting him 2 against Berrios and Maeda, with Moncada 3. U also think Abreu is such an old school hitter that he might excel in that spot because he would change his goals for the at bat I. A way that would end up helping him across the board.

shaggy65

I don’t want contact after big dudes with high OBP because you get plodding station-to-station baseball. I want power batting behind them so we maximize our league-leading HR totals.

Contact batters should be behind speedy guys who can go first-to-third or second-to-home. That’s why I like seeing 7 Robert, 8 Engel, 9 Madrigal, 1 Anderson. Each guy has the speed to take advantage of the contact behind him.

dwjm3

I’d like to hear Ricky’s logic for not using Heuer in the 8th. If his logic is Heuer is inexperienced and I’m going with Cishek because of his experience that is the wrong answer. Maybe Heuer just wasn’t available.

lil jimmy

Perhaps he is being traded. Collins and Codi Heuer rumored going.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Any prospects not currently in the 60 man would have to be added before they can be traded, correct?

Right Size Wrong Shape

Thanks.

shaggy65

I will be pissed if Heuer gets traded. That kid has looked fantastic.

Malkatraz

Has there been any updates on Aaron Bummer? He went on the 10 day IL 3 weeks ago.

burning-phoneix

Playing catch in Schaumberg last I heard.

burning-phoneix

You know how annoying it was to watch the Roylels trot out a parade of sub-2.00 ERA Relievers that stifled every offensive rally. Thankfully they ran out at the end there.

ParisSox

A couple of observations. Anybody else notice a serious lack of bunts this year? Ricky has the mashers so he’s letting them mash. Even letting McCann not bunt in the 10th was beautiful to see.

Also, Madigral is a hitting machine. wow. Love seeing the good contact more often than not.

Malkatraz

I hope he doesn’t make Madrigal bunt. He actually seems like the perfect guy to hit & run with…