KANSAS CITY -- The White Sox have 50 games remaining in the regular season following a 7-5 win in 10 innings over the Royals on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Manager Robin Ventura's crew wouldn't be considered in postseason contention: not at 10 games back in the American League Central and 7 1/2 behind in the AL Wild Card standings, with five teams to jump. But those long odds can't sap the team's optimism when asked about goals for the rest of the way, especially after an exciting win in a tough venue for the South Siders to emerge victoriously.
"That's a good question," third baseman Todd Frazier said, when asked about the 50-game focus after delivering the go-ahead three-run homer off Kelvin Herrera in the 10th. "50-0 would be nice. That would put us right back in contention.
"Just playing the game. We still have an opportunity to be in it. I know nobody is giving up right now. We do that 23-10 stretch and we'll have a bigger opportunity."
When Frazier speaks of that 23-10 stretch, he's referring to the great opening run for the White Sox to put them atop the AL Central by six games on May 9. They have gone a disappointing 31-48 since that high-water point, defined in some ways by a lost weekend here from May 27-29.
The Royals trailed in the seventh, eighth or ninth in all three of those games, but still came back to win them all and sweep the series. They even erased a 7-1 deficit with a seven-run ninth inning on May 28.
So when closer David Robertson gave up Alcides Escobar's game-tying single with two out in the ninth on Tuesday, erasing Chris Sale's fifth opportunity to pick up win No. 15, flashbacks to the troublesome times arose.
This time, though, the White Sox finished what they started.
"You think about it when that stuff happens, but you pick yourself up and keep going, and can't worry about what happened in the past, especially when we've got it right in front of us," said Sale, who yielded three runs over seven innings and fanned seven. "Good win. It's nice to get the first one here, especially. They've been tough on us, especially at this place.
"They're tough on everybody because they have the speed off the bench," Ventura said. "They have quality hitters who can get on base and once they do that, they can exchange that with speed on the bases and make it tough on defense."
Maybe Tuesday was nothing more than a good win over a team with a 65-38 edge over the White Sox since 2011. In Frazier's mind, it hopefully is the start of something greater.
"We have a big run in us. I still believe that a lot. I still believe that we do," he said. "Just have to keep focusing and find ways to win games. Tonight, we found a way to win and hopefully that could kick-start us back to getting back to that 23-10 kind of effort that we know we can get."