Soler hits 2 HRs, again, as Royals beat White Sox 4-3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jorge Soler hit two home runs for the second straight game and the Kansas City Royals extended their winning streak to six games with a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
Mike Minor (8-8) gave the Royals their fifth quality start in the last six games. He allowed two runs on three hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out seven. Minor’s victory in Milwaukee on July 20 started the Royals’ current winning streak.
“I had a really good idea (how I wanted to pitch them) going into it,” Minor said. “For the most part, we know what to throw them. It’s more about executing pitches. I threw some really good pitches.”
Scott Barlow worked the final two innings and picked up his sixth save.
Dallas Keuchel (7-4) took the loss after surrendering three solo home runs. He allowed four runs on six hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out three.
“Dallas made a lot of good pitches, but he made some mistakes and paid for it,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He has the ability to make pitches. But tonight, when he got the ball in places he didn’t want to, the damage was done.”
Soler hit the first Keuchel pitch of the second inning for his 12th home run, and his fifth in the last six games. Soler’s blast went 449 feet to dead center.
“He has the capability to do some things that most people who play this game don’t have,” manager Mike Matheny said. “When he gets it figured out, he’s a game-changer.”
In his next at-bat, Soler hit another home run, this one 413 feet to left. It was the ninth time in his career — and the second time in as many games — that Soler has hit multiple home runs in a game.
“I have a lot of confidence right now,” Soler said through an interpreter. “I’m identifying pitches well. The biggest difference (from earlier in the season) is loading earlier.”
The Royals missed an opportunity to pile on in the fifth. Michael A. Taylor stroked a one-out single, but was caught stealing. Jarrod Dyson then hit a ground-rule double. Whit Merrifield scored Dyson with a double to right.
The White Sox got two runs in the sixth. Minor walked the lead-off batter, Seby Zavala. Zavala advanced to third on Tim Anderson’s double to the wall in left. Both runners scored when Andrew Vaughn singled down the right-field line.
Andrew Benintendi helped the Royals extend the lead to two runs with a home run to the opposite field. He snapped an 0-for-13 skid with the homer.
“When the ball jumps for Benny to that part of the field just amazes me,” Matheny said. “To be able to hit it out of ‘The K’ to the opposite gap like that — that’s when his swing is right.”
The White Sox got a run in the ninth when Adam Engel singled in Yoan Moncada.
White Sox OF Eloy Jiménez was activated from the 60-day injured list and was in Monday’s lineup as the designated hitter. He was 0 for 4 with a strikeout. Jiménez suffered a torn left pectoral tendon in a spring training game March 24. “I feel really excited to be back with the boys,” Jiménez said before Monday’s game. “I don’t know, I can’t explain right now how I feel.” To make room for Jiménez, the White Sox optioned INF Jake Burger to Triple-A Charlotte.
Royals SS Nicky Lopez was out of the lineup again with a “hitch in his giddy-up,” according to manager Mike Matheny. Lopez appeared to injure his leg on July 24, but remained in the game.
The White Sox will send RHP Dylan Cease (7-6, 4.21 ERA) to the mound. Cease has lost his last three decisions, with a 6.00 ERA in four starts.
The Royals will start RHP Brad Keller (7-9, 5.84 ERA). Keller, who will pitch on his birthday for the first time in his professional career, has had three of his four longest outings of the season. In those starts, he’s 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA.
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