White Sox 7, Royals 5: Avila clocks two home runs, Anderson shines in winning debut

The White Sox and Royals are not the marquee franchises for home runs and awesome displays of power. While Kansas City has shown the league how much can be accomplished without the use of the longball, the White Sox have mostly just struggled, so neither offense was expected to hijack a night headlined by a Chris Sale start and the major league debut of Tim Anderson with pyrotechnics.

1. And yet, a barrage of four White Sox home runs off Royals starter Ian Kennedy, including two from the previously homerless Alex Avila, carried the Sox out of the reach of a typically furious Royals comeback. Melky Cabrera began the barrage with a booming blast to right-center in the third, plating Jose Abreu after his own RBI single. Brett Lawrie scooped a towering fly ball over the left field bullpen in the fourth, and was immediately followed by Avila, who sent a towering fly ball out to left to go back-to-back, before ripping a bullet into the Bullpen Sports Bar for a two-run blast in the sixth.

Kennedy is notoriously homer-prone so it’s not like he needed tons of help, but it’s amazing sometimes how much a hot and humid night can commandeer a baseball game.

2. To that end, a night of top velocity and flashes of Chris Sale’s best stuff ended in frustration. The White Sox ace was struck for three solo home runs, including two from Eric Hosmer—the first two he has allowed to a left-handed hitter since 2012—and was tabbed with five earned runs over six laborious innings. After gliding effortlessly in his first nine outings, Sale has one quality start in his last four times out, and left the mound angrily barking at…someone, or something.

3. Sale left the mound after giving up three-straight hits in the top of the seventh, including an RBI single to Alcides Escobar and his sub-.600 OPS to end his night. Robin Ventura turned to the reverse-splits having Dan Jennings to face Hosmer as he represented the tying run, but was only punished with a sacrifice fly. Pulling Jennings after one batter didn’t make much more sense than trotting him out as a lefty specialist in the first place, but Ventura found the right tool in Putnam, who struck out Kendrys Morales and Salvador Perez to end the threat.

Nate Jones and David Robertson were perfect over the eighth and ninth to close things out.

4. Tim Anderson ripped a double down the left field line in his first ever major league at-bat in the third, scored on an Abreu single, and added another well-struck single up the middle in the sixth, to go along with a clean day in the field. In all, it was a very satisfying and pleasing debut for the White Sox top prospect, unless of course he was the one Sale was yelling at while he was walking off the mound. His fourth plate appearance of the night was interrupted by Avisail Garcia getting thrown out at second. Garcia will never be forgiven for depriving us all of more Anderson.

5. With the victory, the White Sox are somehow back in second place in the AL Central, as the Royals have now dropped eight in a row. We have discussed earlier in the week that 6-20 stretches are not conducive to successful seasons. Roughly the same can be said about eight-game skids.

Team Record: 31-30

Next game is Saturday at 1:10pm vs. Kansas City on WGN


Lead Image Credit: Mark J. Rebillas // USA Today Sports Images

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