CHICAGO -- Whit Merrifield froze. Lorenzo Cain hesitated and Avisail Garcia fell down in right field.
Those three components were just part of a crazy 9-2-4-6 game-ending double play for the White Sox in a 7-6 win over the Royals on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
"They are all unique," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of the finish. "That's the cliche: That's the beauty of baseball. You never know what you're going to see on a given day."
With the fleet-footed Merrifield on second and one out, Cain lined a single to right off closer Juan Minaya. Garcia charged the ball and slipped a little after gloving it, but he righted himself in time to throw a one-hop strike to catcher Omar Narvaez.
Narvaez had to come up the first-base side a bit to grab the throw, but he appeared to come back and apply the tag just before Merrifield hit the back of the plate. Cain, meanwhile, hesitated and broke for second. But the throw from Narvaez to second baseman Yoan Moncada covering first to shortstop Tim Anderson nailed Cain at second for the final out.
Replay confirmed both out calls.
"I could feel him [tag] me on my shoulder," Merrifield said. "I couldn't tell from second base [if the ball went through], you can't really tell the angle, so I froze for a minute to see it get through. Once it got through, I hauled it home. They made a good play. That's how it ended.
"Once [third-base coach Mike Jirschele] saw [Garcia] slip, he was waving me the whole way. He made a good play. If he slipped and got up, and made that throw, tip your hat to him. That's a good play."
According to Statcast™, Garcia's throw home at 97.7 mph was his second-hardest tracked throw and hardest tracked assist this year. Garcia nailed Alex Gordon at the plate to end the sixth inning on Merrifield's single to right, but the ninth-inning play had a little more drama.
"Just stand up and throw because when you think about it, that's when you throw the ball somewhere else," Garcia said. "So, you just got to do it. You don't have to think about it. I just tried to throw the ball as quick as I can because he's a fast runner. So, that's what I did."
"The kid has a strong arm out there," Cain said. "He made a strong throw."
Cain took the blame for the game ending on his slide at second. He hesitated around first when the throw went home, and said he has to clean that up and keep running in the situation. Anderson completed the festivities with a great catch and tag on Moncada's slightly rushed throw.
"Definitely strange," Anderson said of the ending. "Just catch him and tag him."
"A little bit of excitement," Garcia said. "But thank God we had the two outs and we won the game. That's most important."