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Benches clear, four ejected in White Sox’ loss to Royals

The Royals took exception to Tim Anderson’s idea of keeping the game fun. Anderson doesn’t care. He’s not going to change.

The White Sox shortstop, who continued one of the hottest starts in baseball, exulted and threw his bat toward the Sox’ dugout after hitting a two-run homer against Royals righty Brad Keller in the fourth inning in a 4-3 loss in 10 innings Wednesday. As Anderson rounded the bases, there were glares and stares from the Royals’ infield and dugout.

In his next plate appearance in the sixth inning, Keller hit Anderson in the buttocks with his first pitch.

“I don’t have any rules,” Anderson said. “I play to have fun and I play with a lot of energy. Our fans pay hard-earned money to come to the ballpark to see a show, so why don’t I give them one?”

The Royals feel like they were being shown up and felt otherwise.

“Keller did the right thing,” said Hunter Dozier, who hit the go-ahead home run in the 10th inning against Nate Jones. “He aimed for the lower body. Hit him. It should just be like ‘OK, go to first and move on.’ It shouldn’t have been as big of a situation as it was in my opinion, but I could be wrong. I don’t know.”

Royals catcher Martin Maldonado made sure Anderson didn’t charge the mound. With Anderson voicing objections, both dugouts and bullpens emptied. Players and coaches restrained each other, but the fracas re-escalated when Royals bullpen coach Vance Wilson and Sox manager Rick Renteria exchanged words when things appeared to had settled.

Anderson, Renteria, Keller and Royals bench coach Dale Sveum were ejected by crew chief Joe West, who declined to give reasons for giving Anderson the heave-ho. The only statement from West was that bad language factored into his decision.

“Everybody has those ‘unwritten rules,’ everybody has their own, I guess,” Renteria said. “Timmy wasn’t showing them up or showing the pitcher up, he was looking into our dugout, getting the guys going.

“Get him out. You want him to not do that? Get him out.”

Renteria was in the middle of the fracas, at one point ‘dancing’ with Sveum, a fellow former Cubs manager. Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters he wasn’t amused by Renteria yelling at Royals players to get back in the dugout.

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“Nobody is going to yell at my team,” Yost said. “That’s not going to happen.”

With Lucas Giolito out of the game because of a left hamstring injury suffered in the third inning, the Royals tied it against Ryan Burr on Alex Gordon’s two-run single in the fifth. Both runs were unearned after Anderson’s error on a ground ball toward second.

The Royals took a 3-2 lead in the seventh against righty Jose Ruiz on Dozier’s two-out RBI single. The Sox tied it in the eighth on Leury Garcia’s RBI single, but wasted numerous opportunities after leaving 14 runners on base.

It was a wasted opportunity to maintain the first bit of momentum this season and take a four-game winning streak into Detroit.

“We are having a lot of fun and playing good ball,” Anderson said. “We are going to continue to go, and we got Detroit [in a four-game series starting Thursday]. We are going to have fun. Continue to be us.”

The Sox (7-10) were going for a three-game sweep and their fourth win in a row.

Anderson angered the Royals’ Salvador Perez last April in Kansas City when he reacted similarly to a home run.

“I play the game with a lot of energy and confidence,’’ Anderson said at the time. “I’m not going to change.”

He’s a man of his word.