CHICAGO -- The White Sox hope the team that battles together soon will start winning consistently together.
Or to put it another way, the benches-clearing fracas in the seventh inning of the Royals' 3-2 victory in 13 innings Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field could end up serving as a galvanizing force for the White Sox. It was a wild tussle with Detroit in 2000 that fostered the same purpose for the eventual American League Central champions.
"It can definitely be a bonding thing," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers of the melee. "As a team right there, protecting each other, watching your back, those kind of things. You don't want to see those kinds of things happen a lot, but when they do, you count on the guys around you to make sure nothing bad happens."
"We have some guys in here that pulled for each other and we've known that the whole time," said White Sox starter Chris Sale, who allowed two runs on nine hits over seven innings Thursday. "I don't think tonight was any different than any other night or any other game or anything that we didn't already know about each other."
Sale and Jeff Samardzija were two of five players ejected, along with the Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain, Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura. The left-hander was at a loss after the game as to why he was tossed. Samardzija could face some sort of suspension with the right-hander involved in two or three ancillary dust-ups after the main one began.
This issue all started when words were exchanged between Adam Eaton and Ventura upon a grounder back to the mound to end the seventh. Eaton played down the situation after the setback, speaking of his respect for the Royals and how they have what the White Sox want in terms of their 2014 postseason success. Eaton also was glad to see his teammates stand behind him.
"There are a lot of feisty guys in here, too, which I like," Eaton said. "A lot of guys like me. I respect our guys, too. You come out there on my behalf, it's awesome. It shows the team camaraderie."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.