No wonder the Royals front office wanted to get their hands on Coco Crisp so badly this offseason. Crisp jumped all over White Sox closer Bobby Jenks in the top of the ninth and rammed a two-run homer well over the wall in left and the Royals defeated the Sox 2-1.
Crisp came up big defensively in the bottom of the 8th with a nice running catch on a ball hit by A.J. Pierzynski in the right center gap to save a run. He then deposited the first pitch he saw from Jenks in the 9th to break a 0-0 tie. Crisp's blow came right after Alberto Callaspo drilled a double to the wall in right center with one out in the inning.
Joakim Soria made things interesting when he came on in the ninth and surrendered a lead off double to Carlos Quentin. Quentin moved up to third on a Jim Thome ground out and scored on Jermaine Dye's ground out to short making it 2-1. Soria then walked Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez reached on an Alex Gordon error to put runners at first and second. But Soria rebounded to strike out pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit on a back-door curve to end the game. The save was Soria's 2nd of the season.
Royals starter Kyle Davies was nothing less than stellar in his performance as he tossed seven innings, allowed three hits, struck out eight and walked two. Together, Davies, Greinke and Meche gave Royals fans a glimpse of what the starting rotation - at least at the top three spots - could be like this season. Together they allow only one run and combined for a 0.43 ERA in the series. Ron Mahay (1-0) picked up the win after tossing a scoreless 8th for the Royals.
"I'm not sure I've ever seen that kind of consistency from a rotation over the course of a series like that," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "It was really amazing to see. I am really pleased with that."
The Royals (2-1) open at home tomorrow against the Yankees at 3:10 p.m. CT. The much anticipated home opener will be a grand re-opening of Kauffman Stadium after it has gone through an extensive renovation over the past two seasons. Andy Pettitte will start for the Yanks while Sidney Ponson gets the nod for the Royals.
The Royals will have to make a roster move before tomorrow's game to make room for Ponson. Reserve infielder Tony Pena Jr. could be the odd man. The Royals must trade, release or option a player to the minors to make room for Ponson on the 25-man roster.