KANSAS CITY— Right-hander Erik Johnson made his 2015 Major League season debut a memorable one by limiting the Royals to three runs over six innings and the White Sox held on for a 7-5 victory on Sunday to complete a three-game weekend sweep.
Johnson, the International League Most Valuable Pitcher this season, was called up on Sept. 1. He allowed all three runs on solo homers before departing with a 6-3 lead. The White Sox roughed up Johnny Cueto for five runs over three innings and led 6-1 before the Royals rallied with two in the sixth and two in the seventh.
“It’s good to win in general, but Kansas City is a heck of a baseball team, it’s a heck of a city they play in and a really good ballpark and fans,” said White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton, who had three hits and three runs scored, including his 12th homer. “Coming in, the atmosphere that they’ve had here and the success they’ve had this year and last year, it’s good to take three from a very, very good team.”
Cueto has lost four straight starts for the first time in his career. The first five White Sox hitters reached base and the White Sox had a 3-0 cushion before Cueto could record an out.
“It’s kind of like a hitter who goes into a slump,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s just grinding through it right now without any results. But these things turn around quick, especially with a pitcher of Johnny’s caliber.”
Despite the loss, Kansas City’s magic number for clinching the American League Central was reduced to 15 because the Twins lost to Houston. The Royals were swept for the first time since June 29-July 1 in Houston and for the first time at home since Aug. 29-31, 2014 against Cleveland.
“It’s a long season and this stuff happens,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said.