Royals let lead slip away in 4-3 loss to White Sox

Ian Kennedy allowed four hits, struck out five and walked two over six innings, an encouraging outing after last season.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Matt Davidson figures the pitching staff for the White Sox is good enough to keep them in just about any game. The only question is whether their offense is going to come through.

It hasn’t been much of a question through their first two games.

After pounding six homers in a season-opening win over the Royals, the White Sox resorted to small ball Saturday night. Welington Castillo delivered a go-ahead two-run double with two outs in the eighth inning, and Chicago rallied for a 4-3 victory over Kansas City.

“Our pitching staff and our bullpen is really going to be the backbone of this team,” said Davidson, who followed his three-homer opener with an RBI on Saturday night. “As long as we’re in reach, I feel like our offense can do pretty well.”

Lucas Giolito kept the White Sox in the game against a stingy Ian Kennedy, turning over a 3-1 deficit to his bullpen. Danny Farquhar (1-0) and the rest of the relief corps managed to shut down the Royals while Castillo and the Chicago offense bailed their starter out.

The go-ahead rally began when Yoan Moncada hit a towering home run off Brandon Maurer (0-1) to begin the eighth — “He hit that ball pretty good,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said with a smile.

Avisail Garcia followed with a single, Jose Abreu grounded into a fielder’s choice and Davidson drew a walk before Castillo’s two-run liner to right field made it 4-3.

Nate Jones worked around a single in the eighth, and former Royals reliever Joakim Soria got Whit Merrifield to fly out with runners on first and second for his first save with the White Sox.

Kennedy allowed four hits, struck out five and walked two over six innings, an encouraging outing after last season. Kennedy picked up his player option mainly because he was so bad during an injury-plagued year that he assumed he would have few other suitors.

“I thought he pitched great,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He really did a good job of limiting the damage and was good after that first inning.”

Giolito matched Kennedy most of the night, though. He surrendered four hits, walked four, threw a wild pitch and a hit a batter, but he also allowed only three runs over six scattershot innings.

That was good enough against the Royals’ dismal bullpen. Their once-dominant stable had eight pitchers allow a combined eight runs in relief of Danny Duffy in the season opener Thursday. Maurer was one of three relievers who came through their outings unscathed.

He couldn’t replicate the feat on Saturday.

“It was a tough night,” Yost said.

STATS AND STREAKS

The White Sox are 2-0 for the fifth time in eight years. … White Sox SS Tim Anderson had a single in the seventh, extending his hit streak against the Royals to 12 games. … The Royals also started 0-2 last season. … Duda’s bases-loaded walk in the first was the sixth of his career. Kansas City had one all of last season. … The Royals’ Mike Moustakas had his fifth career triple.

ROYALS RUNS

Duda drove in a pair of runs and Cheslor Cuthbert had the other RBI for the Royals. But the Royals also left eight on base, including the two in the ninth inning.

MINOR MOVES

Royals right-hander Wily Peralta cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Omaha. He was designated for assignment Thursday. … The Royals signed right-hander Kyle Lohse to a minor league deal. The 39-year-old last pitched in the majors in 2016, going 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA for the Rangers.

UP NEXT

If freezing temperatures and the threat of snow hold off, the White Sox will summon RHP Reynaldo Lopez to the hill for the series finale Sunday. Kansas City will send RHP Jason Hammel to the mound.