In some respects, this was the worst-played game of the season, or at least a contender. But it was exciting, and for a moment in the 8th--closely contested!
Jake Peavy was pretty messy on the night--he couldn't work the inside of the plate, was sprayed into right field all game, and hit the 100-pitch mark in the 5th inning.
In his defense, well, there was not defense.
With the rain pounding down in the early innings, the field became soggy and untenable. White Sox fielders noted its deterioration and upped the ante. They committed four errors total, but the crucial three came in the 3rd.
Tyler Flowers losing track of a pop-up was ultimately made irrelevant by a bad-baserunning double play, but Gordon Beckham dropping a throw on a tag at 2nd (after a bloop single landed between Youkilis and Viciedo) and Alex Rios letting a single bounce past him and roll to the wall both resulted runs on the board. Even the inning-ending groundout ricocheted off of Peavy's body.
The Royals put further padding on their lead in the 5th when Alcides Escobar recorded one of his three infield singles on the night--symptomatic of both choppy defense and poor conditions--advanced to 2nd when Flowers dropped the ball on an attempted steal, and scored on one of Billy Butler's three singles.
The lead ballooned as large as 5-0 after Eric Hosmer's solo shot, but was temporarily made interesting by matching two-run shots by Dunn and Konerko. Konerko's was his second blast in as many games, Dunn's was his 400th career shot, came right after Youkilis' 1,000th career hit, and sent a Sox fan hurtling into the Kaufmann Stadium fountain after it. All of sudden it was 5-4, and legitimately interesting.
But winning this game would not have made any sense, and Brett Myers realized it after getting two quick outs in the 8th. He allowed yet another Alcides Escobar infield single, then three more knocks capped off by a three-run homer from Mike Moustakas, who finally got an offensive contribution to match his stellar defense.
Royals 9, White Sox 4
Jake Peavy - 5.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 ER, BB, 6 K, HR, 110 pitches - It occurs to me that the starting pitcher is always listed as a key performer. As if to say "Here's what happened, guys."
Adam Dunn - 2 for 3, HR, 2B, BB, K, 2 RBI, 2 R - Two blasts to left and left-center. Having him back and working would be a nice thing to have for September.
Paul Konerko - 1 for 4, HR, K - Healthy head, healthy wrist!
Bruce Chen - 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K, HR - White Sox didn't square up his mistakes for five innings, then started to in the 6th and he immediately got pulled. His success is not some deep mystery of baseball.
Gordon-Butler-Moustakas - 8 for 13, HR, 2B, 8 RBI, 5 R, BB, 2 K - A liiiiitle out of control
Every White Sox player struck out once. Just once.
Brett Myers losing complete command in the 8th was pretty problematic. He hit the absolute epicenter of the strike zone with a fastball to Billy Butler, then repeated the feat to Mike Moustakas for the home run that put the dagger in a game that wouldn't die.
Things Would Be Different If...
The defense seemed bad, but also seemed to struggle with the awful conditions of the middle innings. How much of that is on them, and how much is to blame on an unique situation where the umps pushed through a stretch that would normally merit a delay (because they knew it would be short-lived), is a good subject for a long, ultimately pointless debate. A good unit had an awful night, and probably created something around 5-7 extra outs for the pitching staff.
The White Sox seem stuck in another awful maelstrom of misfortune in Kansas City, but thanks to Detroit's loss to Baltimore, will get through the weekend without costing themselves the division lead. Awkward looking slips and slides were had by half the roster, so getting out of the night without an injury seems like good fortune.
Team Record: 65-54, 1.5 games up