CHICAGO -- Rookie Adam Engel's second triple fueled a four-run seventh, capped by Tim Anderson's two-run home run, as the White Sox surged to a 6-3 win over the slumping Royals on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.The Royals, who have lost five straight and 10 of 12, dropped to
CHICAGO -- Rookie Adam Engel's second triple fueled a four-run seventh, capped by Tim Anderson's two-run home run, as the White Sox surged to a 6-3 win over the slumping Royals on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Royals, who have lost five straight and 10 of 12, dropped to five games behind the American League Central-leading Indians and 1 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race. Mike Moustakas hit his 33rd and 34th home runs for the Royals, pulling within two of Steve Balboni's club record of 36 in 1985.
"Individual accomplishments don't really mean anything if you're not playing good ball," Moustakas said. "And right now, we need to get back to playing the way we know how to play."
Royals manager Ned Yost echoed those sentiments: "Nobody likes to go through these streaks. It's no fun by any stretch of the imagination. But we also know we have the ability to get hot and run off a bunch of wins."
Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, acquired from the Nationals in December and making his White Sox debut, was dominant early, striking out six through three no-hit innings. But Lopez, ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, surrendered Moustakas' first home run in the fourth. Lopez went six innings, giving up four hits and two runs while walking three.
"I think that my key today was just my focus," Lopez said through interpreter Billy Russo. "I was focused all game, and I was able to command all my pitches. The changeup was very good. Fastball. I commanded the strike zone in and out. I felt very, very comfortable with all my pitches, and I was able to command all of them."
"He's got good stuff," Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield said of Lopez. "Good changeup, good curveball. It's tough when you haven't seen a guy and he comes out throwing 98."
Aaron Bummer worked two scoreless innings to pick up his first Major League win. Tyler Clippard, the lone veteran acquired in a flurry of trades last month, allowed a run on a wild pitch, but he recorded his third save of the season and second for the White Sox.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was strong through six innings before running into trouble in the seventh. He went 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five earned runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stop right there: The Royals had a chance to do some serious damage after Moustakas' one-out homer in the fourth. Cheslor Cuthbert and Alcides Escobar followed with sharp singles, but Lopez got Alex Gordon to fly out to center and Andrew Butera to foul out to third, ending the threat.
"As a pitcher, I know that I'm going to allow some hits," Lopez said. "But I think that the key is just to keep your focus on the game and keep your confidence, and that was what I did. I gave up three hits in a row, but then I kept my confidence, and I was able to get out of that inning."
"I actually thought that was his best inning to test him," said White Sox catcher Kevan Smith, whose first-inning double opened the scoring. "That was great to have for him in the middle, because he was kind of cruising a little bit, and I was wondering when he was going to hit some adversity. But he got it, he got through it, and it was a good one."
Squeeze play: The White Sox, already with a 3-2 lead after Engel's second triple, which scored Leury Garcia, tacked on another run when Yolmer Sanchez executed a safety-squeeze bunt. Engel scored on a close play at the plate as Duffy's throw to Butera was just late.
"A lot of different things that he can do that benefitted us today and will continue to do as he develops at the Major League level," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Engel's performance. "I think we're hopeful that things will continue to improve and he'll be able to maintain some consistency."
"He just has really, really alive stuff. He just needs to keep on the path that he's going, keep learning to use all of his pitches and pitch off that fastball. I mean, we can't shy away from that fastball. I feel like even when hitters know it's coming, it's still a tough pitch to get to. When he gets that angle that [pitching coach Don Cooper] talks about, he's almost unhittable." -- Smith, on catching Lopez
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Outfielder Nicky Delmonico's infield single in the fifth inning off Duffy made him the first White Sox player since Larry Rosenthal in 1936 to reach base safely in each of his first 10 career games. Delmonico's hit had some luck to it -- it only had a hit probability of 11 percent, according to Statcast™.
Engel became the first White Sox player since Alejandro De Aza on Aug. 16, 2011, to triple twice in a game with his go-ahead RBI triple into the gap in left-center in the seventh inning. He became the first White Sox rookie to achieve the feat since Pete Ward on April 11, 1963, against the Angels. At 25 years and 245 days old, Engel is the youngest White Sox player to triple twice in a game since Sammy Sosa (21 years, 241 days old) on July 11, 1990.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (4-8, 4.83 ERA) will face the White Sox for a third time this season on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Kennedy gave up six hits and six earned runs in six innings in an 11-3 loss to the Cardinals on Monday.
White Sox: Right-hander James Shields (2-4, 6.03) will take the mound at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday in the middle game against the Royals, his former team, at Guaranteed Rate Field. Shields has just one quality start since coming off his first-ever stint on the disabled list for a right lat strain on June 18.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the White Sox on Friday.