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Rick Renteria handed a two-run lead to Alex Colomé in the ninth inning. This ordinarily wouldn’t be a news item to lead a recap with, but Colomé threw 40 pitches the night before, and they weren’t even good ones.
It seemed like a bad idea. The box score validates Renteria, because Colomé worked his first clean inning in six appearances.
The truth lies not somewhere middle, but in Luis Robert’s glove.
Had Maikel Franco’s line drive split the gap in right center for a leadoff double the way its expected batting average of .530 said it should have, perhaps the Colomé usage is the story. Instead, we’re talking about Robert’s incredible diving catch that removed all the pressure.
Robert’s best catch to date is how Colomé got to the otherwise mundane state of “one out, nobody on,” and Colomé did his part with the other two batters, getting a strikeout and a groundout to end the game.
Like any White Sox-Royals game, this could have been easier. But like just about every White Sox-Royals game, it’s one for the win column, as the White Sox are now 8-1 against Kansas City this year. And speaking of preordained wins, the White Sox improved to 13-0 on the season against left-handed starters.
That’s whom the White Sox victimized for all their damage tonight. Tim Anderson turned Kris Bubic’s first pitch into a double, and José Abreu tagged him for a two-run shot before he could get out of the first inning. Anderson then kept the fifth inning alive with an infield single that scored James McCann, setting the stage for a no-doubt blast from Yasmani Grandal that made it 5-1.
The White Sox had to work to preserve that margin. Lucas Giolito pitched better than his line, striking out nine over six innings without a walk and getting 24 whiffs on 104 pitches. The Royals just happened to shove him out the exit by starting the seventh with a single and an RBI double. Giolito finally gave Renteria six innings from a starter for the first time in nine games, but because Ross Detwiler allowed the inherited runner to score, he barely met the minimum for a quality start.
Detwiler did not impress in his first go-around as a setup man, and Jimmy Cordero had to finish the seventh with a groundout to prevent further damage. Codi Heuer looked more imposing in a scoreless eighth.
The White Sox have now won three in a row, and they’ll have a good shot for a fourth since Matt Harvey is starting in the place of Brad Keller. Anderson will not be able to avenge his suspension.
*Anderson, Grandal and Abreu reached six times over 12 at-bats. The bottom six spots in the order combined to go 0-for-22 (McCann reached on a Franco error),
*Minnesota and Cleveland both won in walk-off fashion, so the Sox still lead the AL Central by a mere half-game.