CHICAGO — The Kansas City Royals could be headed for a hangover. Manager Mike Matheny hopes so, anyway.
Michael A. Taylor scored when Garrett Crochet misplayed Andrew Benintendi’s bunt in the 10th inning, sending the Royals to a wild 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
“That’s the kind of win … that you hope kind of have a hangover effect,” Matheny said. “You have some that can negatively have that hangover, and this is going to be one of those with the positive.”
Taylor opened the 10th on second base and advanced on Nicky Lopez’s sacrifice. After Whit Merrifield was walked intentionally, Benintendi bunted the ball right back to the mound.
It looked as if Crochet (0-1) had time to get Taylor at the plate, but he spiked his throw and catcher Zack Collins couldn’t come up with it. It was Chicago’s second error of the day and ninth overall in the first nine games.
“The bunt hopped up on him,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “If it had stayed down, you practice under handing it, but it came up, so he had to go over the top, so it was a tough play for him.”
Greg Holland (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win, and Kyle Zimmer worked a perfect 10th for his first career save.
The Royals celebrated Zimmer’s achievement by showering the right-hander with beer.
“It’s another box I get to check off on my personal career,” Zimmer said. “But the win and the team just definitely come first.”
Chicago had won 17 straight games when its opponent started a left-handed pitcher, one shy of the major league record set by Atlanta from 2004-05. But it ended up on the losing end of a roller-coaster finish.
Kansas City grabbed a 2-1 lead on Benintendi’s RBI single in the eighth. But Chicago went back in front on Adam Eaton’s first career pinch-hit homer in the bottom half, a drive that hooked just inside the foul pole in right.
The Royals then tied it again when Carlos Santana led off the ninth with a drive to center off Liam Hendriks. It was Hendriks’ first blown save since he signed a $54 million, three-year deal with Chicago in free agency.
Merrifield also had a run-scoring single for Kansas City, which was shut out by Lance Lynn in a 6-0 loss in the series opener Thursday. Following a day off, Saturday’s matchup was rained out.
The Royals had dropped six in a row against the White Sox dating to last season.
“It’s just such a special clubhouse, so anytime we can pull out one against a division rival, it’s huge,” Zimmer said.
After wasting prime scoring opportunities in the second and third, Chicago jumped in front when Leury García’s liner got past leaping third baseman Hunter Dozier for a two-out RBI double in the fourth. Danny Mendick helped set up the run with a 10-pitch walk against Mike Minor.
Kansas City bounced right back in the fifth, tying it at 1 on Merrifield’s two-out RBI single off Dylan Cease. The Royals had runners on first and second after Merrifield’s second hit of the day, but Michael Kopech retired Benintendi on a bouncer to second to end the inning.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The White Sox walked nine times, but they went 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position and left a season-high 12 runners on base.
Royals: Dozier was replaced by a pinch hitter in the ninth. Dozier has been hampered by a right thumb injury, and Matheny said it was still bothering him a little bit. “Just still trying to make sure we keep ahead of that,” Matheny said.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson (strained left hamstring) remains on track to return this week, general manager Rick Hahn said. Anderson is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list on Thursday. … Hahn said OF Adam Engel (strained right hamstring) is more likely to return during the team’s next homestand than its upcoming six-game trip. “But again, these things have a way of evolving,” Hahn said. Engel got hurt during spring training.
Royals: RHP Brady Singer starts Monday night against the Angels in the opener of a 10-game homestand. Singer allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings in a 7-3 loss to Texas last weekend in his first outing of the season.