After Monday’s clutch victory against the Tigers, the Chicago White Sox need strong performances against the Kansas City Royals in order to maintain their division lead. Luckily, three solo home runs on Tuesday night were enough to give the Sox a 3-2 victory. No ground was gained, however, as the Tigers crushed the Athletics 12-2.
The Sox have had trouble with the Royals this season, improving to just 6-10 with yesterday’s victory. Leadoff man Alejandro De Aza started the game right with a home run on his second pitch. In response, the Royals quickly gained the lead by scoring two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. In the sixth inning, Gordon Beckham hit his 16th home run to tie the game 2-2.
Just one inning later, Alex Rios’ towering home run gave the Sox the lead. It was his 24th and his 87th RBI. It is no secret that Rios has been critically important to the success of the team, but he is also approaching personal bests. With fifteen games to go, Rios has tied his single season home run record at 24 and his 87 RBIs are just one short of his career high.
The biggest story of the night would have to be Gavin Floyd’s performance on the mound. Back for his second start since returning from the disabled list, Floyd (10-10) looked very comfortable. Despite giving up two runs in the first, he settled down and blanked the Royals for six more innings. He only used 78 pitches to get through his seven innings and could have stayed in for three more outs, but there is no need to risk it considering how reliable the Sox bullpen has been the past few weeks. After Floyd’s departure, Matt Thornton and Addison Reed gave two innings of scoreless relief, earning Reed his 28th save.
Detroit didn’t let the Sox extend their lead yesterday, but with no remaining contests between the two teams, their performance doesn’t really matter at this point. The Sox have the three game advantage and as long as they can win at least half their remaining games, the Tigers will have an extremely difficult time catching up. Tonight, Chris Sale looks for his 18th win on the season as the series continues.