KANSAS CITY -- Todd Frazier's three-run homer off of Royals closer Kelvin Herrera lifted the White Sox to a 7-5 victory in 10 innings on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Frazier's blast to left followed Jose Abreu's single and Justin Morneau's double, marking Morneau's fourth hit of the game.
"I needed that in the biggest way in the world," Frazier said. "Frustrating day. Trying to find my swing a little bit. Finally I felt a little connection. I was happy about that. I was happy I could help contribute to the team."
Much like three brutal losses here from May 27-29, where they had the lead in the seventh, eighth or ninth and lost all three, the White Sox took a 4-3 into the ninth inning on Tuesday and watched it disappear. Kendrys Morales singled to left to open the frame against closer David Robertson, and pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson swiped second. With two out, Alcides Escobar singled to left to tie it at 4. But the White Sox would not let this one slip away completely.
Trailing, 3-1, they scored three runs with two outs off Royals starter Edinson Volquez in the fifth courtesy of five straight singles. Melky Cabrera, Abreu and Morneau drove in the runs. While the offense picked up, ace Chris Sale settled down on the mound.
Sale gave up three runs on seven hits over the first 2 1/3 innings. His final line had those same seven hits and three runs in seven innings, as Sale retired 14 of the final 15 Royals he faced. Raul Mondesi drew a two-out walk and swiped second in the seventh, but was stranded when Paulo Orlando flied out to right.
"Just command of everything, really," Sale said of his in-game improvement. "First couple of innings, I didn't really feel like I was finishing well with my offspeed pitches, especially. But got that figured out and fastball command got better as the game went on. It was definitely a grind."
Cheslor Cuthbert had three hits and an RBI for the Royals. Matt Strahm struck out five over two scoreless innings in relief of Volquez, who yielded four runs on 10 hits in six innings.
"His whole game hinged on one-third of an inning," Royals manager Ned Yost said of his starter. "He just couldn't contain it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Two-out magic: The White Sox went to work in the fifth after Volquez retired Tyler Saladino and J.B. Shuck to open the frame. Tim Anderson singled and scored on Cabrera's single to right-center. Adam Eaton singled and Abreu hit a game-tying single to right-center. Morneau followed with a fifth straight hit, a go-ahead single to match the club's season high for hits in an inning.
Well, that's a new one: Royals manager Ned Yost moved Orlando to the leadoff spot for the first time this season, and it immediately paid dividends. Orlando doubled in the first and scored on an RBI single from Cuthbert. The play marked the Royals' seventh run in the first inning since July 16. Entering the game, they had only managed two runs in the first inning since the start of August. Orlando finished the game 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. More >
The Royals plated two more in the third inning, but wouldn't get their next hit until the ninth.
"We did a nice job of scoring a run in the first," Yost said. "We just really couldn't do much more against [Sale, after the third]."
Herrera falters: For the second time in his last three outings, Herrera took the loss. He looked to be in control starting off the 10th inning, even giving up two singles. Both hits were on low breaking balls, which seemed to baffle the closer.
"It was a pretty good pitch to me," Herrera said. "Nothing I can do. ... I executed my slider."
As for the home run, Herrera acknowledged he just left one over the middle to Frazier.
"That guy had 30 homers already," Herrera said. "So something you leave in the middle probably is going to [get] hit hard."
Making a difference: Morneau recorded a four-hit game for the first time since Sept. 26, 2015, when he did it with Colorado. He has hit in 14 of his last 16 games, batting .333 (20-for-60) during that stretch.
"He's filled the left-handed presence we were looking for," manager Robin Ventura said. "Even against the lefty, he's having a quality at-bat. That was a big one, gets a guy in scoring position. He's had professional at-bats. It's a very educated at-bat."
"He had a huge night tonight, no doubt. He's been huge. He's a guy who has been there and done that," Sale said. "He's a great teammate, too."
"It was big. We pick each other up. Dave gave up that RBI single, but we knew in our heads, 'Let's pick the guy up.' He's been doing great all year." -- Frazier
JENNINGS SAVES THE DAY
By striking out Hosmer to end the series opener, Dan Jennings picked up his first career save in his 211th appearance.
"It's cool," Jennings said. "I was starting to wonder if it ever was going to happen."
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Left-hander Jose Quintana (9-8, 2.93 ERA) will attempt to become a 10-game winner for the first time in his career, while trying to get the White Sox a much needed series victory on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. CT at Kauffman Stadium. Quintana is 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA over his last six starts, but is 1-8 with a 4.28 ERA lifetime against the Royals.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (6-9, 4.03) will get the ball on Wednesday in the middle game of this series at 7:15 p.m. CT. He's yielded just one run in his last two outings, but hasn't pitched in a win since June 26. He's made three quality starts since, in which the Royals' offense has averaged just 1.7 runs per game.