KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chicago White Sox started another series on the wrong foot Tuesday, but a pair of rookies helped them bounce back to split a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals.
In a season filled with peculiar statistics, the Red Sox continued to struggle in the first game of a series when Lance Lynn allowed two two-run homers in a 4-2 loss in Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium.
The Sox have a bewildering 12-23 record in series starts this season.
“Play better,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said of the brand after Game 1.
The Sox will have to find a way without All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson, who will miss about six weeks with a sagittal band tear on his left middle finger.
The Sox benefited from the long ball in Game 2 in a 3-2 victory.
Lenyn Sosa and Yoán Moncada hit solo home runs for the Sox. Vinnie Pasquantino, who hit a two-run homer in Game 1, hit a solo shot in Game 2 for the Royals.
“That was very impressive,” La Russa said of rookie Sosa, who went 2-for-4. “And we needed every bit of that, too.”
Sosa’s home run in the third was the first of his career.
“It was a very special home run, a very special moment,” Sosa said through an interpreter. “I was expecting a fastball, but when I saw that pitch (a curveball from Jonathan Heasley), I just reacted and was able to hit the ball hard.”
Pasquantino tied the game with his home run in the fourth.
Moncada made a tremendous defensive play, fielding Nate Eaton’s grounder to third and firing to first for the final out of the fifth. Gavin Sheets made a good scoop early on.
Moncada led off the sixth with the go-ahead home run. Sheets provided a sure run in the eighth with a double to left that brought home Luis Robert from first.
Sox starter Davis Martin allowed one run on three hits with three strikeouts and one walk in 5⅔ innings.
“Davis had a really good mix, he had really good control,” La Russa said of the rookie. “He showed different guys different things, very impressive.”
Martin again pitched well at the venue where he made his major league debut on May 17.
“The fastball placement was really good,” Martin said. “We were mixing the slider down and out. And the third time, the derailleur caught fire a little bit and we were able to mix that up a little bit.
“The defense worked hard behind me. Moncada’s play down the third base line, I almost ran and hugged him on the field.”
The Red Sox took several hard hits in Tuesday’s opener but came up empty-handed for most of the afternoon against Royals starter Brady Singer. The right-hander allowed one run on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks in 7⅓ innings.
“He pitched a good game,” La Russa said. “But we made hard contact in one race. That’s just baseball.”
The only run off Singer came on Josh Harrison’s one-out homer in the third.
The Royals took the lead on Pasquantino’s two-run homer in the bottom of the third. Nick Pratto hit a two-run homer off Lynn in the sixth.
“Two pitches cost me four runs,” Lynn said.
Lynn allowed four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk in six innings.
“Don’t do two-horse bleep that costs you four runs,” Lynn said.
The rallies fell short in the eighth and ninth for the Red Sox.
After rallying in Game 2 for the division, the Sox are 8-6 during their current streak of 19 straight games against teams with sub-500 records.
They will continue that streak without Anderson. Sosa, who played second base Tuesday but also has experience at shortstop and third, is ready to contribute in any way he can.
He had a moment on Tuesday that he will always remember.
“I was thinking about the happiness that my family can feel at that moment,” Sosa said of the home run. “I will display (the ball) in my house.”