KANSAS CITY – When you’re competing for the championship in your division, it’s important to do your best against teams that are not in contention. Not letting them play spoilers can sometimes decide whether a team makes the postseason or not.
As the White Sox continue their march toward their first playoff berth since 2008, they’ve taken that philosophy to heart, especially in a four-game set in Kansas City this weekend.
In all four contests against the struggling Royals, Rick Renteria’s team led after the second inning, and for a third-consecutive game, they took the lead first on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. A strong start from Dallas Keuchel and a late surge on offense gave the White Sox an 8-2 win over Kansas City to keep them in first place in the American League Central.
They remain a half-game ahead of the Indians and a game-and-a-half in front of the Twins after their loss to the Tigers on Sunday.
About the only disappointment was the fact that Kuechel couldn’t finish his outing, leaving after five shutout innings due to back tightness. It occured when he fielded a grounder to the mound for a putout to end the fifth inning, and attempts to warm up before the sixth only produced more pain.
At that point, however, the White Sox already had a 1-0 lead, and their offense added to after his departure. Nomar Mazara’s double to left field plated a run in the sixth inning and three more would follow in each of the next two frames.
Edwin Encarnacion’s three-run homer into the fountain in left field in the seventh, his eighth of the year, made it 5-0. When the Royals got two back in the bottom half, he’d get another RBI on a single which was sandwiched between two other scoring plays.
Yasmani Grandal, who singled in a run to give the White Sox their first lead of the game in the third, doubled home another to start the scoring surge. After Encarnacion’s fourth RBI, Eloy Jimenez doubled in another to make it a six-run game.
It was the perfect way to cap a near perfect weekend for the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium, where they took care of some necessary business to stay in first place.