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Soler's 2nd homer (No. 43) pivotal for Royals

Slugger nears AL lead as Kansas City hits 5 jacks against White Sox
@FlannyMLB
September 12, 2019

CHICAGO -- Other than Jorge Soler, Royals hitters generally don’t strike a ton of fear into opponents with the long ball. But over the past two days, the Royals certainly joined in on the homer barrage that has become the norm for Major League Baseball in recent years -- scoring

CHICAGO -- Other than Jorge Soler, Royals hitters generally don’t strike a ton of fear into opponents with the long ball.

But over the past two days, the Royals certainly joined in on the homer barrage that has become the norm for Major League Baseball in recent years -- scoring all three of their runs on Tuesday night with solo home runs.

And the Royals were back at it Wednesday night, scoring all their runs on home runs in an 8-6 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Kansas City did its part to help MLB set a record for home runs in a season -- earlier in the night, Baltimore’s Jonathan Villar hit No. 6,106, topping last season’s MLB record of 6,105.

Box score

As usual, Soler was right in the middle of it, blasting two two-run home runs as part of a four-hit game. He now has 43 this season, trailing only Angels slugger Mike Trout (45) for the American League lead.

Adalberto Mondesi and Ryan O'Hearn each got their second home runs of the series. Mondesi hit a two-run homer in the second, giving the Royals a 4-3 lead. Bubba Starling added a solo shot in the fourth.

"The last couple nights have been a good night to be a hitter,” manager Ned Yost said. “I think there's been like 24 runs scored, 23 of them have come from the home run. Soler really had a big night. Those two tack-on runs at the end were big for us right there to give us a four-run lead.”

Soler actually disagreed somewhat.

“I had a lot of fun, but I don’t think the ball was carrying too good,” Soler said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. “Not like yesterday.”

Even on a night in which seven baseballs left the yard?

“I am referring to the first ball I hit,” Soler said. “I didn’t hit it great, but I hit it pretty well and it just barely went out.”

Soler also just missed a home run in the third inning, a shot that caromed off the right-field wall for a double. He was a triple shy of the cycle.

As Soler distances himself from the number he needed (39) to set the franchise single-season home run record, does he have a new number he’s shooting for. Perhaps, 50?

“No, not really,” Soler said, smiling. “I just want to stay focused and keep hitting well.”

There’s little question that each Soler at-bat has become an event.

“He’s so fun to watch,” Royals starter Glenn Sparkman said. “He can hit the ball a long, long way.”

Sparkman had his own issues with the long ball as he overcame a rocky first inning when he gave up a three-run home run to Eloy Jimenez. But Sparkman grinded through five innings, giving up four hits and three runs.

“It’s a challenge when the ball is flying out like it was,” Sparkman said. “You want to be aggressive and stay on the attack, but you have to be a little careful.”

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.