KANSAS CITY -- This was the Eric Skoglund the Royals' coaching staff raved about in Spring Training, so much so that he was somewhat of a surprise addition to the 25-man roster.After three so-so starts in the regular season, Skoglund, a left-hander, put together his best game in the Major
KANSAS CITY -- This was the Eric Skoglund the Royals' coaching staff raved about in Spring Training, so much so that he was somewhat of a surprise addition to the 25-man roster.
After three so-so starts in the regular season, Skoglund, a left-hander, put together his best game in the Major Leagues, holding the White Sox to two hits over a career-high seven innings in the Royals' 5-2 win over the White Sox in Game 2 of a doubleheader Saturday night.
Skoglund retired 15 consecutive hitters and struck out a career-high nine.
"I think Eric has been throwing the ball pretty good," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "In Detroit, he started out shaky and then he really dialed it in. It was a learning point for him. He was dialed in today.
"He's been really, really good. His breaking ball was working, throwing for strikes and bouncing it when he needed to. A lot of people see a breaking ball in the dirt; sometimes it's by design. You're trying to get a swing and a miss. Where you get in trouble, is when you try to bounce it and don't."
Skoglund said he was glad to help the team but didn't think he needed a confidence boost.
"Hoepfully we can turn this thing around," Skoglund said. "We played well in all areas tonight. Hopefully we can get this thing rolling.
"My confidence will always be there. Even when I had some bad outings, I felt like I was close. I just try to keep the game as close as I can."
The Royals' offense, which has been going through a nightmarish stretch of inability to hit with runners in scoring position, finally came through in those situations. Abraham Almonte got an RBI single with the bases loaded in the first inning, and Alex Gordon followed with a two-run single.
Almonte's single ended a stretch of 18 consecutive hitless at-bats for the Royals with RISP. The Royals only have four hits all season with the bases loaded -- Almonte, who hit a grand slam in Detroit, now owns two of them.
Gordon also had an RBI double.
The game was briefly interrupted in the bottom of the first when Royals catcher Salvador Perez reached second base as a baserunner and exchanged words with White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, who had homered to lead off the game. Both benches and dugouts cleared as Perez and Anderson had a heated exchange. No punches were thrown from either side.
• Yost's trauma surgeon throws out first pitch
• Royals right fielder Jorge Soler now has walked in nine consecutive games, the longest such streak since Mike Sweeney walked in nine straight in 2000. The club record is 14, set by Jeff King in 1997.
• Mike Moustakas stole his first base since April 11, 2015, when he swiped second base in the seventh inning. He has 12 career bags.
HE SAID IT
"I don't have any problems with the guy hitting a homer, taking a couple steps, walk two steps and keep running. But when you start to get loud, to say some bad words like '[expletive] let's go' and all that [expletive], I don't like that. He has to respect my team and my pitcher. We're professionals in here."
-- Perez, on the stir-up between he and Anderson
Right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-3, 3.46 ERA) will take the mound for the Royals in the series finale Sunday against the White Sox at 1:15 p.m. CT. Kennedy left his last start on Tuesday after three innings after being hit in the foot with a line drive. But Kenney said the swelling has reduced and the injury should not be a factor Sunday. The White Sox will counter with reliever Hector Santiago (0-0, 3.38 ERA).
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.