The post-All-Star break feel-good edition of the Royals kept the positive vibes rolling with their fourth win in five games on their home turf. They scored in a multitude of ways, got a lights-out pitching performance from Glenn Sparkman and played error-free defense.
The only rain on the parade of positivity came in the form of an injury that forced their budding star shortstop Adalberto Mondesi to leave the game.
Sparkman set a career-high with eight strikeouts and tossed a shutout in the first complete game of the season by the Royals’ pitching staff in an 11-0 romp over the Chicago White Sox in front of an announced 16,557 in the second game of a four-game set at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night. The Royals (34-62) assured themselves at worst a split of the series.
Sparkman (3-5) became the first starter to pitch a shutout since Jason Vargas on June 2, 2017, against the Cleveland Indians.
Mondesi (2-for-3) scored two runs in the first three innings before leaving the game, Hunter Dozier collected three hits, including his 14th home run of the season which traveled an estimated 447 feet, and Whit Merrifield (3-for-5, 2 RBIs) extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Merrifield also matched his 2018 season total for home runs (12) with a fourth-inning two-run inside-the-park home run.
Alex Gordon and Cheslor Cuthbert also had two hits apiece.
The Royals were already up 6-0 in the top of the fifth when Mondesi went on a full sprint and dove for a ball along the left-field warning track in foul territory. Mondesi did not come up with the catch, and he remained on the ground until after trainer Nick Kenney and manager Ned Yost came out to check on him.
Mondesi, who leads the majors in triples (nine) and stolen bases (31), missed 11 games during a stint on the injured list earlier this season with a groin strain.
White Sox starter Dylan Cease, 23, entered the night having pitched just five big-league innings and never having thrown a pitch on the road. The Royals applied pressure early and the youngster got very little help from his defense. The White Sox committed two errors behind him, not including a throwing error he made on a failed pick-off attempt.
The Royals scored the first four runs of the night thanks to a pair of two-run innings.
Mondesi singled, advanced to second on Cease’s errant pick-off throw, stole third and scored on a fielding error by third baseman Yoan Moncada on the throw to third to try to catch Mondesi stealing. Hunter Dozier added an RBI triple to give the Royals a 2-0 lead in the first.
Mondesi started the second two-run inning with a single and then scored when a throwing error botched a potential double play. Five batters later, Bubba Starling’s RBI single to left field scored Jorge Soler, who reached on a fielder’s choice. Soler got ejected in the eighth inning for arguing balls in strikes with home plate umpire Tom Hallion.
Merrifield’s fourth-inning two-run inside-the-park homer made the lead six runs. Cuthbert’s seventh-inning RBI single with the bases loaded provided the seventh run.
Billy Hamilton, who entered the game when Mondesi left, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth and Gordon tacked on an RBI single. Dozier put the finishing touches on a four-run inning with a towering two-run homer.