KANSAS CITY -- Brandon Moss hit a go-ahead double in the ninth to give the Royals a 5-4 walk-off win and a three-game sweep of the White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. It was the Royals' fourth walk-off win in eight days and second in this series.With the
KANSAS CITY -- Brandon Moss hit a go-ahead double in the ninth to give the Royals a 5-4 walk-off win and a three-game sweep of the White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. It was the Royals' fourth walk-off win in eight days and second in this series.
With the win, the Royals remained 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Indians in the American League Central. The White Sox lost their ninth straight game. Since losing seven of eight, the Royals have won five in a row.
"After the walk-off against Detroit [on Wednesday], we came in and said those are the kind of things that spurt your momentum again," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It definitely has. Our momentum has definitely spiked."
Mike Moustakas led off the ninth with a single against White Sox reliever Gregory Infante and pinch-runner Lorenzo Cain advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Infante hit Alcides Escobar on the left hand, closer Tyler Clippard entered the game. On a 1-2 pitch, Moss roped the ball down the right-field line, scoring Cain with the winning run.
"[Moss] had some great swings on that last at-bat," Yost said. "I felt like he was going to find a pitch and drive it somewhere, and he did, right down the line."
The White Sox jumped ahead with a four-run fifth, knocking out four straight hits on five pitches from Royals starter Travis Wood. Adam Engel's double cleared the bases to tie the game, and two batters later, Jose Abreu doubled in the go-ahead run against Kevin McCarthy. That run was charged to Wood, as the bullpen combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Closer Kelvin Herrera struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth and earned the win.
The Royals trailed 4-3 entering the eighth inning, but Whit Merrifield tied it with his second home run of the game.
"[Reliever Dan Jennings] threw a slider that was a decent pitch," Merrifield said. "It was a down, but I got extended and put the barrel on it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Swarzak keeps the lead: Right-hander Anthony Swarzak came on in relief of starter Derek Holland in the fifth inning with the White Sox holding a one-run lead and runners on first and third with two out. On three straight sliders, Swarzak struck out Jorge Bonifacio looking to end the inning. Swarzak then pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Since June 20, he has given up one run in 14 2/3 innings.
"He's been excellent," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He's become for us, with [Nate Jones] going down and [Jake Petricka] going down, he's actually become a fireman. He's come in in some of the highest leverage situations we could possibly get. And then we use him for multiple innings."
Back-to-back-to-back: Entering the fourth inning, the Royals had yet to register a hit off Holland. But Merrifield, Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer hit consecutive home runs for a 3-0 lead. It was the first time the Royals hit three straight home runs in an inning since May 25, 2006, when Tony Graffanino, Angel Berroa and Doug Mientkiewicz did it. Prior to hitting three home runs in the sixth inning in Saturday's 7-2 win, the Royals hadn't hit three homers in an inning since 2006. Now, they have done so in consecutive games.
"Just bad execution," said Holland, who pitched with his velocity slightly down on Sunday. "Same time, you've got to give those guys credit, especially Whit. He had a great game today, especially offensively. Personally, I've got to execute better than that."
"I'm only pointing at myself. It's very disappointing to go out there and not go at least five to six [innings]. Pitch count is where it needed to be. It's just my fault for not executing, and when you don't execute, you're going to get taken out of the game. If anybody wants blame it's for myself. It's a poor performance. It needs to be better than that. It's very frustrating." -- Holland
MELKY MAKES EARLY EXIT
Melky Cabrera left Sunday's loss in the fifth inning as Alen Hanson came on as a pinch-hitter. Cabrera had fouled a pitch from Wood off his left foot in the first inning, sustaining a bruised big toe. But he stayed in the game for two at-bats. No X-rays were taken, but Cabrera felt as if he could play on Monday at Wrigley Field with Renteria listing him as day to day.
"We'll check him in the morning," Renteria said. "Hopefully, he should be fine."
White Sox: The crosstown four-game set against the defending World Series champion Cubs begins at 1:20 p.m. CT on Monday at Wrigley Field. White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will make his 15th start of the season and fourth during Interleague Play. Gonzalez is 1-9 with a 6.24 ERA over his last 10 starts, and he is 0-1 in two career starts vs. the Cubs.
Royals: Right-hander Jason Hammel will make his team-leading 20th start of the season when the Royals begin a three-game set against the Tigers at 6:10 p.m. CT on Monday at Comerica Park. The teams split a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium earlier this week. Hammel gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings in his last start vs. the Tigers on Wednesday.
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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Sunday.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.