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White Sox can't overcome shaky 1st in nightcap

Error leads to 3 Royals runs; Chicago struggles at plate behind Covey's start
Special to MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- For the White Sox, Saturday's doubleheader was a tale of two first innings for their starting pitchers.

Whereas Carson Fulmer was able to work through first-inning traffic unscathed in an 8-0 win in the opener, Dylan Covey couldn't do the same in the nightcap. An error opened the door that led to three runs in the first as Kansas City salvaged a split with a 5-2 victory.

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KANSAS CITY -- For the White Sox, Saturday's doubleheader was a tale of two first innings for their starting pitchers.

Whereas Carson Fulmer was able to work through first-inning traffic unscathed in an 8-0 win in the opener, Dylan Covey couldn't do the same in the nightcap. An error opened the door that led to three runs in the first as Kansas City salvaged a split with a 5-2 victory.

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"Covey was good," said interim manager Joe McEwing, who's filling in while skipper Rick Renteria attends his mother's funeral. "He attacked the zone. The error was a tough play where [left fielder Leury Garcia] lost a ball in the lights."

After Tim Anderson's leadoff homer, , the Royals loaded the bases with two outs in the first. Abraham Almonte delivered an RBI single and Alex Gordon put Kansas City on top for good with a two-run single.

Video: CWS@KC: Anderson leads off game with home run to left

The White Sox offense, which had been so proficient against the Royals in five previous games this year, was stuck in neutral for most of the game after the Anderson home run. Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund retired 15 in a row after the leadoff homer, and wound up allowing just two hits over a career-high seven innings.

Covey was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte just to start one of the doubleheader games, and was optioned back to Charlotte afterward.

"I feel like I did my job," Covey said. "I kept it as close as I could. I had a few hiccups in the first inning. But other than that, I felt like I was competing."

By going six innings, Covey enabled the White Sox to get through the doubleheader without putting any strain on the more prominent bullpen arms.

"I feel like I did what I was brought here to do," he said.

The game was briefly interrupted in the bottom of the first when Salvador Perez reached second base as a baserunner and exchanged words with Anderson regarding his celebration of the leadoff homer. Both benches and dugouts cleared as Perez and Anderson had a heated exchange. No punches were thrown from either side.

Video: CWS@KC: Benches clear after Anderson, Perez dispute

"If I hit it out of the ballpark, I get excited," Anderson said. "That's what we do. I'm a leadoff guy and that gets my guys going. I explained to [Perez] where I was coming from.

"Sometimes people don't understand each other, but that's not going to change my game. I'm going to continue to be me."

McEwing had no problem with Anderson's celebration.

"We want our players to have fun and respect the game," McEwing said. "T.A. was having fun. He was excited about the way our series was going."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The White Sox had something going in the eighth inning with a run in and two men on base against reliever Brad Keller. Leading 4-2, Keller was able to induce a double-play grounder from Anderson to end the last serious Chicago rally.

Video: CWS@KC: Keller induces inning-ending double play

SOUND SMART
Anderson's leadoff homer marked the fifth in his career, with the last time coming against the Dodgers on Aug. 15, 2017.

UP NEXT
Reliever Hector Santiago (0-0, 3.38 ERA) will make his first start in Sunday's 1:15 p.m. CT finale. Opponents are batting .241 against the left-hander in his seven bullpen appearances this season. Santiago started 14 games for the Twins last year, compiling a 5.63 ERA. The Royals will counter with veteran right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-3, 3.46).

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Chicago White Sox