Drama aside, order restored in Royals' bullpen

Drama aside, order restored in Royals' bullpen

CHICAGO -- When Royals left-handed reliever Scott Alexander gave up a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning Saturday night against the White Sox, there had to be a feeling of here-we-go-again among the Royals' faithful.

After all, this was a bullpen that came into the game with a 7.25 ERA during a 2-9 August. The bullpen that had a Major League best ERA of 2.00 in July also had allowed runs in 10 of the previous 11 games.

Make that 11 of 12 when Alexander gave up the lead on a two-run single by Leury Garcia, giving the White Sox a 4-3 lead.

But after Melky Cabrera belted a two-run home run in the eighth to answer, the Royals' bullpen finished off the White Sox in a much-needed 5-4 win at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Melky's clutch two-run homer

Joakim Soria put the White Sox down 1-2-3 in the eighth, and closer Kelvin Herrera recorded a scoreless ninth for his 25th save, and the Royals broke a five-game losing streak.

"It was huge," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "These are the kind of wins that help stop the bleeding."

The ninth didn't come without a little drama, though.

Herrera, who hasn't had a save opportunity since Aug. 3, got two quick outs. But one strike away from a win, Herrera walked Omar Narvaez instead.

With Adam Engel, who had two triples on Friday, at the plate, pinch-runner Tyler Saladino stole second, putting the potential tying run in scoring position.

Then Yost's heart skipped a little when Engel shot a grounder headed to left. But third baseman Mike Moustakas made a diving stop to his left, got up, and threw a strike to first to end it.

"Great play. Tough play," Yost said. "Game saver."

Yost was relieved the back end of his bullpen, so trusted for much of the season, restored some order.

"Jack came in and had a great inning," Yost said. "And Kel got two quick outs and you never like to see that walk. But he got out of it."

And as the Royals' traditional postgame victory music blared in the background, Yost acknowledged, "Good to hear that again."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.