KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brett Eibner wondered whether anything could surpass the Kansas City Royals’ rally Friday night, when they overcome a four-run deficit to beat the Chicago White Sox in his major league debut.
He did not have to wait long to find out.
Eibner singled to cap the biggest ninth-inning comeback in Royals history, a seven-run rally off David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle that lifted the World Series champions over the Chicago White Sox 8-7 Saturday.
“I didn’t think I could beat yesterday and, sure enough, we come around and do this,” said Eibner, who also doubled to helped spark the inning. “It’s super fun. There’s nothing like it. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that.”
Kansas City’s Salvador Perez was injured in the ninth when third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert slid with a forearm and elbow into the left thigh of the All-Star catcher, who called off Chien-Ming Wang (3-0), settled under Adam Eaton’s foul popup about 30 feet from the plate near the third-base line and snagged the ball just before he was hit.
Perez was taken for a MRI after the game and the extent of his injury was not announced. The preliminary diagnosis was a bruised left thigh.
“Now it’s a waiting game,” Eric Hosmer said. “We won the game today, but that will be the more important win if we find out nothing serious with him happened. Salvy is our guy. He’s the leader of this team. He’s an All-Star. He’s everything. When you see a guy like that goes down, it fires you up. You want to pick up the pace cause you’ve got to pick him up.”
Perez immediately raised his right arm, signaling for assistance. Two minutes later, Perez hobbled off the field with his arms draped over the shoulders of manager Ned Yost and head athletic trainer Nick Kenney.
“The good thing about it, at least as far as we could tell, there was no structural damage to his knee,” Yost said. “So, that was what I was worried about. He sustained a pretty good quad contusion Cheslor suffered a mild quad contusion, when they hit.”
Held to six hits through eight innings, the Royals doubled their total in the 32-minute bottom of the ninth and overcame a six-run deficit for the first time since beating San Francisco on June 22, 2008. The inning included four walks, two of them intentional, and four runs scored with two outs.
“There’s no shot clock, there’s no time clock,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said after Chicago lost for the 13th time in 17 games. “If you can’t close it out, that’s what happens. Today we couldn’t close it out.”
Eibner had the second and third hits of his big league career. The designated hitter drove in the game-ending run with a full-count single on the 10th pitch of his at-bat against Kahnle (0-1). Eibner grounded a 98 mph fastball on the low, outside corner to the right of a diving Jose Abreu at first, and Drew Butera, who had replaced Perez, raised an arm in triumph as he crossed the plate.
Robertson relieved with a 7-1 lead in a non-save situation and threw a called third strike past Paulo Orlando before Cuthbert singled and Eibner doubled on a fly that dropped behind right fielder Adam Eaton, who lost the ball in the sun.
A walk to Omar Infante loaded the bases, and Robertson forced in a run when he walked Alcides Escobar after getting ahead 1-2 in the count.
Whit Merrifield, who made his big league debut May 18, hit a hard grounder up the middle that deflected off Robertson’s glove and into right field for a single as two runs scored, cutting the deficit to 7-4. Lorenzo Cain hit into a run-scoring forceout to shortstop, easily beating second baseman Brett Lawrie’s relay to first to avoid what would have been a game-ending double play. Eric Hosmer followed with an RBI double to deep right-center, pulling Royals within a run.
Kahnle relieved Robertson, who threw 29 pitches, and Butera doubled on his third offering, driving the ball on one hop to the left-field wall.
Butera advanced on a wild pitch. Orlando was intentionally walked and took second on defensive indifference, and an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Jarrod Dyson loaded the bases for Eibner, who fouled off three 2-2 pitches, took a ball and fouled off another before the winning hit.
Tyler Saladino and Avisail Garcia each homered and drove in three runs as Chicago built its lead. The bottom four White Sox hitters — Brett Lawrie, Alex Avila, Garcia and Saladino — went a combined 8 for 16 with six runs.
“I wouldn’t say I’m shocked or surprised we didn’t win that game,” Avila said. “I’ve seen comebacks like that. There’s not a whole lot that surprises me. You have to make sure you’re prepared for things like that. But, at the same time, I’m absolutely upset that we didn’t win.”
Chicago starter Carlos Rodon gave up one run and six hits in five innings in a no-decision. Royals starter Yordano Ventura allowed seven runs, six earned, and nine hits in seven innings. Ventura is 2-4 with a 7.16 ERA in his past six starts.
Royals: RHP Chris Young (right forearm strain) was reinstated from the disabled list and put in the bullpen. LHP Brian Flynn was optioned to Triple-A Omaha, where the Royals want him to transition back to being a starter. … DH Kendrys Morales, who has not played since Tuesday because of swelling on his right middle knuckle, probably will return Monday against Tampa Bay.
White Sox: LHP Chris Sale (9-1), who leads the AL in wins, complete games (three) and opponents’ batting average (.179), is to start Sunday’s series finale.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (5-4) has a 2.06 ERA at home this season and a 6.55 ERA on the roa