Dennis Leonard’s best start of the season so far led the Royals to a 3-1 win over the White Sox on Monday night at Royals Stadium.
Leonard entered the game with an ERA of 4.22 but lowered that by nearly a full run (to 3.26) with his complete game four-hitter. He did walk five batters but struck out six.
Chicago’s lone run came in the fourth, when two of those walks came back to haunt Leonard. Richie Zisk and Jim Spencer started the frame with free passes, and both runners moved up on a groundout. Zisk scored on Chet Lemon’s sacrifice fly.
White Sox starter Francisco Barrios retired the first 13 Royals he faced before Darrell Porter singled with one out in the fifth. Amos Otis and Al Cowens followed with singles of their own, tying the game at 1-1.
The score remained knotted until the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Tom Poquette singled. John Mayberry doubled, with Poquette stopping at third. The White Sox walked Porter intentionally and then summoned Lerrin LaGrow from the bullpen. But his wild pitch scored Poquette, and Otis then hit a sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead. Leonard worked around a one-out single in the ninth to seal the win.
The victory moved Kansas City into a tie for first place with Minnesota in the AL West. The 13-8 Royals were technically percentage points ahead of the 14-9 Twins.
Box score and play-by-play:
Today’s birthdays: Felix Jose (1965), Luke Hudson (1977), Neftali Feliz (1988)