But with his 'pen running on fumes, Royals manager Ned Yost miraculously got five shutout innings from his relievers as his offense forged a tie with the White Sox after eight frames. At that point, Yost inquired about left-hander Scott Alexander's availability for the ninth.
Prior to the game, Yost said Alexander wouldn't be available after being overworked lately.
"We talked before the game," Alexander said. "And then they called down and asked how I was and said I was fine. I knew there was a possibility I'd get in."
But Alexander, who saved Tuesday's win, couldn't hold the White Sox down, giving up two runs on a sacrifice fly by Jose Abreu and an RBI single by Avisail Garcia. The Royals lost, 5-3.
"[Alexander] said, 'Look, I can go. I'm good. I can go,'" Yost said. "And through much discussion, we just figured they were all in the same boat down there. Trust the player."
Alexander, who now has pitched four times in six days, said he didn't think fatigue affected his outing.
"I don't know," Alexander said. "I think everyone's kind of tired at this point. It's the same for everybody.
"I guess I wasn't as sharp. But you can say that in every outing, even the good ones. We're all tired. But we're all trying to be available and compete and give it our all."
After Skoglund departed, Yost called on right-hander Kevin McCarthy, another reliever who was supposed to have needed a day of rest. McCarthy tossed three scoreless innings.
After that, right-hander Peter Moylan, another reliever who was in theory unavailable, pitched a scoreless seventh. Kelvin Herrera tossed a 1-2-3 eighth.
"Phenomenal job by them," Yost said. "You know, McCarthy and Moylan's pitched three days in a row. Kel was the freshest of the group and had a great inning. There was some thought about pushing Kel back out [in the ninth], but you know what he's gone through. We just thought, 'Get him the one inning, good inning under his belt and move on.'"
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.