KANSAS CITY -- The White Sox solved their late-inning woes at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night.
All it took was Jacob Turner and Dan Jennings.
Todd Frazier belted a three-run home run and the White Sox overcame a blown save by David Robertson to beat the Kansas City Royals 7-5 in 10 innings in front of 27,134. Shortly after Justin Morneau’s fourth hit, a one-out double, put a pair in scoring position, Frazier ripped a first-pitch fastball by Kelvin Herrera for his 31st homer. The White Sox won for the first time in Kansas City in four tries this season despite their fourth blown save.
“Here it’s always been tough for us,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They can scratch stuff across.
“It was a nice pushback after that, we get a couple guys on. (Jose Abreu) gets on, Morneau has a great at-bat with a double down the line, hanging in there and getting the barrel on the bat and then Frazier with the big one. Here we need all of them.”
The White Sox had been here before.
In their previous trip in May, the bullpen allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings and took the loss in all three games as the Royals swept the White Sox. Seemingly every reliever got roughed up in a horrifying series.
Robertson, who allowed six runs in a non-save opportunity in an 8-7 loss on May 28, surrendered the tying run again on Tuesday. He allowed a leadoff single to Kendrys Morales and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson stole second and scored on a two-out RBI single by Alcides Escobar. But Robertson, who has blown five of 32 tries, rebounded and retired Raul Mondesi to send it to extras.
Abreu then started a one-out rally in the 10th with a single off Herrera and Morneau yanked a double to right field to bring up Frazier. Combined with a May 9 grand slam in Texas, Frazier is the first player with two go-ahead homers in extra innings in the same season since Colorado’s Alex Gonzalez in 2010.
“It was big,” Frazier said. “We pick each other up. Dave gave up that RBI single, but we knew in our heads ‘Let’s pick the guy up.’ He’s been doing great all year. I needed that in the biggest way in the world.
“Frustrating day. Trying to find my swing a little bit. Finally, I felt a little connection. I was happy about that. I was happy I could help contribute to the team.”
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With Nate Jones having pitched a scoreless eighth, Ventura had to determine who was the next to pitch. Turner allowed one run to score, but recorded two outs in the bottom of the 10th. Jennings then struck out Eric Hosmer to end it and earn the first save of his career.
“Not the normal guys coming in at the end, but Jacob has been moving up the ladder getting in there late in the game and Jennings is tough against lefties,” Ventura said.
The blown save cost Chris Sale his 15 th victory.
In search of his first win since July 2, Sale got stronger as the game progressed. The left-hander fell behind 3-1 in the third inning after he surrendered three consecutive one-out hits, including a two-run single by Hosmer.
But Sale stranded Hosmer at third and got on a roll to retired 13 straight. He allowed three earned runs and seven hits in seven innings and struck out seven.
Much like Sale, the White Sox offense came to life after a slow start against Edinson Volquez. Trailing 3-1, the White Sox had five straight two-out singles in the fifth to pull ahead. Morneau had the last to make it a 4-3 game.
The rally had Sale and the White Sox in line for a victory until Kansas City spoiled another ninth inning. But thanks to Frazier, Turner and Jennings, Sale still had the chance to talk about a win afterward.
“We’re listening to music right now and it’s a good time so that’s all that really matters,” Sale said. “I’m not a big fan of individual stats. To be able to come back after something like that, it’s big. It says a lot about our guys, especially being here in this stadium.”