Jarrod Dyson scored from first on Eric Hosmer’s double into the right field corner in the 13th inning, and the Kansas City Royals defeated the White Sox 3-2 in a game marred by a bench-clearing brawl.
Dyson, who came into the game to replace Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain — one of five players ejected after a fight at the end of the seventh inning — reached first on a fielder’s choice and was running on a pitch from Jake Petricka with two outs when Hosmer delivered the game-winning RBI. Wade Davis pitched a scoreless 13th to nail down the victory in the first game of a four-game series between the AL Central Division rivals.
Sox starter Chris Sale and Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija were ejected along with three Royals, including Royals starter Yordano Ventura, who set off the melee after making a routine play to end the seventh.
With the score tied at 2, the fight near first base started when Adam Eaton hit an apparently harmless inning-ending comebacker to Ventura, who showed Eaton the ball and yelled an obscenity at the Sox center fielder before throwing to first for the out. Lip readers could see that Ventura said “F— you” to Eaton, who on his way out of the box appeared to yell something at Ventura.
“I think everyone knows,” Sale said when asked what exactly sparked the brawl.
“The proof is in what you guys saw and that’s about it.”
“We’re competitive. We’re athletes, we’re guys. When you put us in the heat of the moment we do crazy things sometimes.’’
Sale wasn’t one of the more animated participants, so he was unsure why he was ejected. Samardzija, who appeared to want to get at Cain, was in the middle of it.
“For me, I’m not a big fan. I’m not a big fan of him,” Cain said. “I don’t know what the deal is.”
Ventura hit Jose Abreu with a pitch near the left elbow in the fourth inning. Sale hit Mike Moustakas with an 0-2 fastball in the fifth inning. It was the latest exchange between the Sox and Royals, who got into it in the first series of the season in Kansas City, with six players hit by pitches in those first three games. Umpire Sam Holbrook warned both dugouts after Sale hit Moustakas.
“You know, this game is emotional,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It seems to follow them [the Royals] around. It’s happened often enough, so, I think everybody gets emotional and reacts to things. And that’s what happened.
“When anybody starts staring, everybody reacts to it. For us, once you get out there when somebody starts saying something guys are emotional. I couldn’t even tell you what happened. There’s people everywhere.’’
The hit batsmen appeared to be the end of the night’s tension until the Ventura-Eaton exchange. When Eaton said something to Ventura and took a few steps toward him, the benches and bullpens emptied. Punches and kicks were thrown, and players and coaches thrown to the ground in the tussle. Samardzija was in the middle of the action, while Sale seemed more involved trying to restrain his teammate.
Royals Ventura, Lorenzo Cain and Edinson Volquez were ejected. Fines and suspensions seem likely.
Sale gave up two runs over seven innings. The Royals scored two in the first on a two-run single by Kendrys Morales. The Sox got a run in the fourth on Alexei Ramirez’s RBI single in the fourth and Abreu’s two-out RBI single that scored Melky Cabrera, who had doubled.
The Sox had several chances to break the tie against the Royals bullpen. The best chance came with one out in the eighth a runner on third, but Avisail Garcia and Conor Gillaspie struck out against Kelvin Herrera.
“You have to put something in play,’’ Robin Ventura said. “A sac fly is important at that point.”