So far this year, the feisty new group of White Sox hitters have shown they're never out of a game. So far this year, their pitching staff have shown that their work will never done.
Despite jumping ahead on a first inning Jose Abreu sacrifice fly, Avisail Garcia breaking in and recovering too late to snag a first inning bases-clearing Alex Gordon double to the right-center field gap put the Sox in an all-day game of catch-up amid a miserable Erik Johnson start, and they dropped the Royals' home opener 7-5.
Johnson certainly never had much in the way of command nor stuff at any point, allowing seven earned runs in 4.2 innings and outpacing strikeouts with walks. He plunked Eric Hosmer in the back to load the bases in the first, and spun a flat slider to Gordon to fall behind 3-1. The rookie starter certainly didn't have much luck,either. A bloop Omar Infante single landing in front of a diving Adam Eaton put him behind 4-1 in the second, and the back-breaking two-run single that put the Sox down 7-2 ricocheted off the edge of Marcus Semien.
That came after two innings of semi-recovery, before Johnson ended his day with three walks and three runs in the fifth, and brought home a score on his own when only one of his two 50-foot sliders was blocked. Jake Petricka came on and stranded all of his inherited runners, so it could have gotten worse.
With Johnson a trainwreck, it's a credit to the White Sox offense that there were any tense moments at all. They pounded out 9 hits as a unit, and a two-out, two-run double slapped down the third base line by Adam Eaton drew the Sox back within three the next frame after Johnson's exit. The promising sixth-inning rally was cut short however, when Marcus Semien's demonstrative check-swing was rung up from home plate by Will Little without a first base appeal, stranding two runners.
Garcia added an RBI by grounding out with runners in scoring position to make it 7-5 in the seventh, but otherwise went 0-4 and did little to redeem his fielding. Meanwhile, Tyler Flowers has now reached base his last eight times up, the last of which was a dropped pop-up by Nori Aoki, in case anyone suspected divine forces weren't involved. It's a shame the Sox might waste his MVP season.
Jake Petricka kept the score from getting too ugly with 2.1 innings of shutout ball. He should be in the majors.
Team Record: 2-2
Next game is tomorrow at Kansas City at 1:10pm
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