In a fun reversal of roles, the White Sox offense provided in droves only to suffer the cruelest betrayal. In a more standard-issue result, defensive gaffes were the highlights of the day. Two errors in the eighth inning, including a two-out grounder off the bat of Alcides Escobar that was botched by Alexei Ramirez and plated the go-ahead runs for the Royals, conspired to end Jesse Crain‘s scoreless streak and blow the second multi-run lead that the offense had provided on the day in a 7-6 Sunday loss.
Crain mishandling a bunt loaded the bases with no one out in the eighth after back-to-back singles led off the inning, but back-to-back strikeouts brought him to the doorstep of an escape. A bases loaded walk to Alex Gordon erased Crain’s margin for error, at which point Ramirez provided the error.
A 1-2-3 top of the ninth provided an undeserved finale for a White Sox offense that had executed better than expected throughout the day.
Gordon Beckham‘s booming double to the center field warning track over the head of a sprinting Jerome Dyson in the eight inning simultaneously broke the tie and the four-run glass ceiling the Sox have often adhered to this season. Pinch-runner Jordan Danks and pinch-hitter Jeff Keppinger–expertly slid in against a lefty for Conor Gillaspie–came around to give the Sox a 6-4 advantage and to wipe away the ugliness of blowing a 4-0 lead.
Entering the inning with just 54 pitches throw, Axelrod gave up five rippling line-drives to the six hitters he faced. Luckily, the two that left the park off the bats of George Kottaras and Jerome Dyson, started out the inning. Even more lucky, the shot off the bat of Eric Hosmer landed in Axelrod’s glove. But dotted around that was Alcides Escobar shanking a bloop double in front of Dayan Viciedo in left field and Billy Butler singling him home to give the Royals a blank slate at 4-4.
Nate Jones cleaned up the mess so that Axelrod wouldn’t be on the hook for losing the game, but it’s the second time in three starts Axelrod hasn’t made it out of the fifth.
The day began looking like it would be spent entirely in celebration of Adam Dunn’s resurgence. Still saddled with a sub-.300 OBP, a sub-.200 batting average, and by weighted-runs created, still being a below-average hitter, Dunn has been an All-Star for the month of June, and spent Sunday being all over a pitcher who will likely be an All-Star come July.
Dunn lined a ball through Eric Hosmer with the bases loaded for a two-run single, making Royals starter James Shields pay for a wild first inning that included two walks and started with six straight balls. For a follow up, Dunn dropped down and golfed a sinking changeup out of Shields’ hand out over 400 feet and over the center field wall to give the White Sox an early 4-0 lead.
Matt Thornton and Nate Jones combined for 2.1 scoreless innings of work. Can’t blame them.
Team Record: 31-42
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