KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Freddy Fermin followed a leadoff walk by Nick Pratto and a single by Matt Duffy with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning, giving the Kansas City Royals a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
The Royals nursed a 3-1 lead into the eighth, but the White Sox tied it with a two-out rally against Aroldis Chapman. Andrew Vaughn and pinch-hitter Carlos Pérez singled, and Luis Robert Jr. bounced a tying double off the chalk of the left-field line.
In the ninth, Pratto worked a walk off Reynaldo López (0-3) before Maikel Garcia struck out. Duffy followed with a single to right, and Fermin laid down a bunt just in front of the plate that allowed Pratto slide home without a tag at the plate.
Scott Barlow (1-2) pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn the win.
The start of the game was delayed an hour by a steady rain that never fully abated, and that in turn created a conundrum for the grounds crew, which never seemed certain before first pitch whether it should be rolling up and stowing the tarp.
Turned out the pitchers handled the drizzle better than anyone.
The Royals’ Brady Singer has been struggling most of the season, allowing 19 runs in 19 innings in his first four home starts. But the young right-hander showcased better command and execution while cutting through the White Sox lineup Thursday.
He gave up Vaughn’s two-out single in the third but lasted six innings and departed with a 3-1 lead.
Mike Clevinger was sharp, too, though that was expected against Kansas City. The right-hander with the funky delivery — who twice got nailed with pitch-clock violations — was 9-0 with a 1.98 ERA over his first 14 games against the Royals.
While they never hit Clevinger hard, they did hit him enough. Michael Massey followed his first homer of the season Wednesday night with a two-out shot in the second, and the Royals got a leadoff single by Edward Oliveras and a walk from Pratto before a double by Garcia into the left-field corner gave Kansas City a 3-1 lead in the fourth.
Clevinger also left after six innings, allowing three hits and two walks.
OF Franmil Reyes chose free agency Thursday rather than go to Triple-A Omaha. He was designated for assignment after hitting just .186 with two homers and seven RBIs in 19 games for Kansas City.
The White Sox start a nine-game homestand with RHP Michael Kopech (1-3, 5.97 ERA) on the mound for Friday night’s opener of a three-game set against Houston.
The Royals head out on a nine-game trip but have not announced a starting pitcher for Friday night’s opener of a three-game series in Milwaukee.