Moss’ grand slam lifts Royals over White Sox
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brandon Moss hit a grand slam early and that was it for the Kansas City Royals offense, but the pitching staff made it hold up — barely.
Sam Gaviglio worked five solid innings and Moss clubbed a first-inning grand slam as the Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 on Tuesday afternoon.
The victory evened the Royals’ record at 72-72.
Gaviglio (4-5) allowed two runs on six singles and a double over five innings, while walking two and striking out five. He threw 62 strikes in 87 pitches.
Losing pitcher Dylan Covey (0-5) walked Whit Merrifield, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez in the first inning before surrendering the grand slam to Moss on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. It was the Royals’ fifth grand slam this season.
“When you’re walking to the plate, the first thing you think about is you’d love to hit a grand slam right here,” Moss said. “After that not much goes through your head.
“How the at-bat started, I was glad to get a positive result. I’m down 1-2. It’s 12 o’clock in the afternoon. Your body is not fully warmed up yet. You’re ready to go, but you’re just not reacting the way you want to. The longer the at-bat went, the more you get into the feel of things. Honestly, the length of the at-bat (nine pitches) helped me to stay in it and to be on time on that pitch.”
Moss has homered in three consecutive games, bringing his total to 21.
Covey (0-5) allowed just one hit and walked only one after Moss’ grand slam.
“I’ve kind of been prone to the deep ball a lot this year,” Covey said. “It’s in the back of my mind. These are big-league hitters and I’ve got to throw my best stuff up there. I have to learn to trust my stuff in the zone, and not try to nibble too much on the corners.”
The White Sox scored single runs in the third, fourth and eighth innings.
Yolmer Sanchez’s double in the third scored Rymer Liriano, who began the inning with a single and stole second.
Tim Anderson’s single in the fourth brought home Nicky Delmonico, who singled leading off the inning. Gaviglio struck out Liriano and got Adam Engel out on a ground ball to shortstop Alcides Escobar to end the inning with runners on second and third.
“I just want to stay aggressive and go after the hitters,” Gaviglio said. “That was the big thing. Salvy (catcher Salvador Perez) did a great job behind the plate for me calling the pitches.”
Rob Brantly’s RBI-double in the eighth scored Delmonico.
Left-hander Scott Alexander worked out of danger in the ninth with runners on the corners and nobody out, as he retired the next three batters to earn his fourth save in six chances.
Adam Engel opened the inning with a double, but stopped at third on Sanchez’s single to center field that was just over a leaping Whit Merrifield at second base.
“There is no way I would have wanted him to advance on that,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “If that ball got caught, I would have been more upset with that. (Merrifield) got up off the ground.
“The initial read on a low line drive is to react back first. Once it goes through bust your butt to try to score if you can. After the ball went through, he busted his butt, but they got to the ball quickly enough. He did it absolutely correctly.”
NOTES: RHP Mike Morin was claimed off the waiver wire by the Royals from the Los Angeles Angels. Morin has a 10-8 record with a 4.49 ERA in 177 relief appearances with the Angels. Morin had a 6.91 ERA in 10 outings this season with Los Angeles. ... Royals LHP Onelki Garcia, who surrendered nine runs over six innings, was designated for assignment. ... The White Sox and Royals will open the 2018 season on March 29 at Kauffman Stadium. ... 3B Mike Moustakas and CF Lorenzo Cain, who are slowed by leg injuries, were held out of the Royals lineup, giving them a breather. ... White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito and Royals LHP Eric Skoglund are the probables for the series finale Wednesday.