But on Friday night, in the opener of a four-game set, it was the White Sox who had the good late fortune in an exciting 7-4 victory. The White Sox, now 5-11 vs. the Royals in the season series and 2-5 on the road, scored four runs in the eighth off Kelvin Herrera, punctuated by Carlos Sanchez's three-run homer to right. It was the second baseman's first home run of the season.
That rally made a winner of Chris Sale, whose sixth complete game of the season marked the sixth straight outing in which he has worked at least eight innings. That streak stands as the White Sox longest since Jack McDowell worked that deep in seven straight from July 10-Aug. 8, 1994.
Sale's six complete games are the most by a White Sox pitcher since Bartolo Colon threw nine in 2003. All of these numbers further the American League Cy Young Award credentials for Sale, who is 16-8 with a 3.03 ERA and 215 strikeouts over 210 2/3 innings. Sale was more focused on Sanchez following the team's seventh win in 10 games.
"It was a lot of good feelings. I threw my arms up in the air. I was just, it was crazy," Sale said. "That's your team fighting for you right there. It's your team fighting back against one of the best.
"You guys have seen it. You know what Herrera brings to the table. To be able to put up a four-spot in that inning is huge. It changes the complete landscape of the game honestly. You are looking at, we were down two and then we scored one, and then we hit a three-run homer. All you have to do is go out there and not mess up too bad."
The Royals' first 13 hitters went down in order without a three-ball count, but they knocked out seven hits in their next 10 at-bats against Sale to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead. It was still a two-run advantage with one out in the eighth when Herrera buzzed Todd Frazier with a high fastball, and Frazier quickly expressed his displeasure. Frazier doubled after catcher Salvador Perez calmed him down. Alex Avila drove in Frazier with a single and Avisail Garcia walked to set up Sanchez, who connected on a 94-mph fastball.
For once, it was the White Sox smiling in Kansas City after a late-game turn.
"I just tried to get the ball good and bring one run in," Sanchez said. "It's really good when your pitcher pitches a really good game to get the win."
"We've had plenty that are some gut punches here, but our guys keep responding, showing up late in the game and coming back and getting one, especially with Saler on the mound," manager Robin Ventura said. "It was nice for him to finish it off."