The White Sox offense couldn’t convert early in Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader and then the Kansas City Royals bullpen took over.
Alex Rios homered for the first time since Opening Day as the Kansas City Royals sent the White Sox to a 4-2 loss in both teams’ second-half opener in front of 25,807 at U.S. Cellular Field. Mike Moustakas also homered off Jeff Samardzija, who allowed four earned runs and seven hits in seven innings. Chris Young and four Kansas City relievers limited the White Sox to seven hits.
Though the White Sox came back from an early pair of one-run deficits they couldn’t take advantage of a key chance against Royals reliever Ryan Madison in the sixth inning.
With men on second and third and one out (Avisail Garcia had singled and Adam LaRoche doubled) Madison induced consecutive comebackers from Alexei Ramirez and Geovany Soto to preserve the 4-2 lead.
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Melky Cabrera also stranded a pair in scoring position in the third inning when Young struck him out.
“You kick yourself when you get those missed opportunities,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We had second and third there a couple of times and didn’t cash in at all.”
By the time Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland entered the game was effectively over. Each followed with a scoreless inning to close out the win.
On the heels of a game-tying solo homer by Adam Eaton in the fifth, Samardzija gave the lead right back to Kansas City.
Eric Hosmer doubled to start the sixth and Kendry Morales singled to put runners on the corners. Hosmer scored on Omar Infante’s double play to make it 3-2 and Rios homered.
“It’s tough when we tie it on (Adam) Eaton’s homer and I come back and give it right back to them,” Samardzija said. “That stings and you don’t want to do that.”
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Kansas City previously pulled ahead on a Lorenzo Cain RBI double in the first inning. Moustakas hit a laser to center in the fifth to make it 2-1.
Soto homered off Young in the third to tie it at 1. Eaton also tied it at 2 with a solo shot off Young -- who allowed two runs over five innings -- in the fifth.
The White Sox tried to jumpstart the offense in the game’s first two innings but both Eaton and Garcia, who drew a leadoff walk in the second, were caught stealing by the Royals’ Drew Butera. The runners were only the 25th and 26th ever caught stealing in 211 attempts with Young on the mound. The White Sox challenged Garcia’s caught stealing and Kansas City players didn’t even motion to come off the field but upon review, replay officials ruled that the call stood.
“Everybody knows the back end of the bullpen is tough and when you have opportunities you have to take advantage of them and we didn’t do that today,” Ventura said.