White Sox roll past Royals 11-3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Adam Engel was an unsuspecting slugger Monday, while Jose Abreu remained a threat every time he stepped into the box.
Engel had three hits, including a three-run homer, and Jose Abreu ended a home run shy of his second cycle in three games as the Chicago White Sox ripped the Kansas City Royals 11-3.
Engel’s home run off Brandon Maurer highlighted a six-run sixth inning that put the game out of reach.
“The guy threw a breaking ball first pitch, so I got to see his breaker and I hadn’t gotten to see a fastball actually,” Engel said. “He threw me another breaking ball a little bit more over the plate the second time. I picked it up well and just put a good swing on it.”
Abreu, who was 4-for-5, singled for his first two hits, tripled in the sixth to score Yoan Moncada and doubled in the seventh.
“He’s been swinging the bat very, very well,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Great at-bats, great approaches. Just doing everything he needs to do to give himself a chance.
“He’s been extremely consistent over this last month, obviously. Over the course of the season, he’s been consistent, but he has been on a pretty good tear here as of late. It’s nice to see.”
Abreu was very aware of what he needed in the ninth to finish the cycle.
“I knew it,” he said through a translator. “I knew it because everybody around me was telling me, ‘Hey, go for a homer, go for a homer.’ I was trying to hit a good pitch to see if I can get it, but I couldn’t. But, the most important thing was that we got the win today and we’re happy with that.”
Moncada had his first career three-hit game.
Reynaldo Lopez (1-3) worked six strong innings to pick up the victory. He gave up three runs and eight hits.
Kansas City (71-72) dropped three games behind the idle Minnesota Twins in the race for the second American League wild-card spot. The last-place White Sox (57-86) won their third straight.
The White Sox wasted little time scoring two runs against right-hander Jason Hammel.
Yolmer Sanchez led off the game by plopping Hammel’s third pitch just inside the third base line for a single. Moncada got him home with a triple to the right field corner. With the infield in, Abreu lined a run-producing single to center, making it 2-0 after three batters.
Hammel needed 32 pitches to get out of the first inning.
“He was just battling his command all night long,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He got 3 1/3 innings in 85 pitches. It happens. It was just one of those days where he wasn’t just exceptionally sharp. It was kind of strange because six of the first nine outs were on strikeouts.”
With two outs in the second, Sanchez doubled to right and scored on Moncada’s single.
Hammel yielded two more singles in a scoreless third but struck out the side.
Eric Hosmer led off the Royals’ second with a single, his ninth consecutive hit, and advanced to third on Brandon Moss’ single to right. Lopez squirmed out of that danger when Alcides Escobar flied out to a right on a 3-1 pitch.
Hammel did not make it out of the fourth. The White Sox loaded the bases on Engel and Abreu infield singles sandwiched around a walk to Sanchez. Hammel was pulled after walking Nicky Delmonico on four pitches to load the bases.
“Very frustrating,” Hammel said of the inning. “You’re making pitches, it’s tough to deal with one swinging bunt, let along two. Work around a walk. It’s just one of those games we’ve got to forget. We’ve got a quick turnaround tomorrow. We’re still very much in this thing. It’s just an off night.”
Peter Moylan replaced Hammel, and Sanchez scored on Avisail Garcia’s fielder’s choice grounder.
Hammel’s final line was 3 1/3 innings, five runs, 10 hits and two walks while striking out seven.
“It’s the best my slider has been for a while,” Hammel said. “The first couple of innings I was kind of tipping with my glove. I was doing something that might have been tipping pitches, so I tried to adjust ... and fix that. It didn’t make too much of a difference.”
Hosmer grounded out to lead off the fourth, ending his consecutive hit streak one shy of the Royals’ record.
Brandon Moss homered on a full-count, 95 mph pitch by Lopez to lead off the Royals’ fifth. Kansas City added on two before the inning ended. Alex Gordon singled and scored on Whit Merrifield’s triple to center. Lorenzo Cain singled to center, scoring Merrifield to cut the White Sox’s lead to 5-3.
NOTES: Royals LHP Danny Duffy said he felt good after a three-inning simulated game. Duffy, who threw 46 pitches to four batters, is on the disabled list due to a sore elbow. He likely will return to the rotation this weekend at Cleveland. ... RHP Ian Kennedy, who has shoulder fatigue, will miss his Wednesday start. Manager Ned Yost quipped candidates to replace him include “Bill Clinton and Robert Redford.” ... Game time for Tuesday has been moved from night to a 12:15 p.m. CDT first pitch because of a U2 concert at Arrowhead Stadium. ... The White Sox have only one off day remaining, on Sept. 18, finishing the season with 33 games in 34 dates. ... White Sox RHP Dylan Covey and Royals RHP Sam Gaviglio are the Tuesday probables.