CHICAGO – Rookie Andrew Vaughn, starting the nightcap at first base after AL MVP Jose Abreu was injured in a frightening collision in the first game, homered to send the Chicago White Sox over the Kansas City Royals 3-1 Friday for a doubleheader split.
The Royals ended an 11-game losing streak in the opener 6-2, stopping Chicago's six-game winning string.
Then Vaughn and the White Sox rebounded with Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, sidelined and listed as day to day.
“It was a big win after losing that first game and losing Pito (Abreu),” Vaughn said. “He's huge part of our team and huge part of our vision. Hopefully he's back ASAP.”
The collision occurred in the second inning when Hunter Dozier, after popping up, jogged out of the batter’s box with his head down and grazed past Chicago catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Dozier took another couple of steps and then slammed hard into Abreu as he was tracking the ball, knocking both players to the ground about 20 feet from the plate.
Grandal caught the ball as trainers and medical staffs came onto the field. After few minutes, Abreu got up and left the field walking on his own, but looked dazed with his arms draped around two staffers.
Abreu suffered a facial bruise and cut, along with a bruised left knee. Tests for a concussion were negative.
“I was concerned because our guys we're really shaken,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He took a shot. The clubhouse was really quiet, but they got themselves ready to play.”
Dozier was put on the seven-day concussion injured list.
Michael Kopech tossed four sharp innings for the White Sox in the second game. He allowed one run, on a homer by Carlos Santana, and two hits while striking out five.
“I knew when I got here that things were a little bit down, especially since we had been up the last six games or so,” Kopech said. “With that going on in the clubhouse, you have to lock in.”
Codi Heuer (3-1) pitched a scoreless fifth to earn the win in the seven-inning game. Aaron Bummer followed with a perfect inning, then Liam Hendriks worked around in infield single in the seventh for his eighth save.
Vaughn made his first career start at first base in the majors and homered for the second time in three games. His two-run drive in the second came off Jakob Junis (1-3) and Chicago scored another run in the inning when Jake Brentz walked Yoán Moncada with the bases loaded.
“I just wanted to go out there and stay on the attack and keep them off the scoreboard as long as I can,” said Junis, who pitched a relief inning on Wednesday. "But unfortunately, that didn't happen tonight.
“I missed on a pitch to Vaughn. He took advantage of it.”
Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer and Michael A. Taylor had a two-run drive in the first game.
Taylor homered on the first pitch from Lucas Giolito (2-4) after play resumed following the collision.
Brad Keller (3-4) allowed two runs on five hits in five innings to help Kansas City end its longest losing streak since a 12-game slide in 2012. The Royals won for the first time since May 1 at Minnesota when they had the best record in the majors.
Abreu and Vaughn each had sacrifice flies for Chicago, which entered with the best record in the majors.
La Russa said Abreu told him he wanted to play in Friday’s second game. La Russa decided otherwise.
“He’s a stallion,” La Russa said. “Hopefully we can dedicate a win to him in the second game.”
Vaughn played first base regularly in college and the minors.
“Unfortunately, I had to play there with Pito out, which we never want to have happen,” Vaughn said, “but I do feel comfortable there.”
Kansas City recalled RHP Jake Newberry from Triple-A Omaha and optioned LHP Daniel Lynch and C Sebastian Rivero to the farm club. One of the Royals’ top prospects, the 6-foot-6 Lynch was 0-2 with 15.75 ERA in his first three major league starts after being recalled on May 3. ... INF Kelvin Gutierrez was recalled from Omaha to take Dozier’s spot.
The White Sox recalled RHP Alex McRae from Triple-A Charlotte and the Royals recalled RHP Ronald Bolaños from Triple-A Omaha to serve as their 27th men for the doubleheader.
Royals: C Cam Gallagher was reinstated from the seven-day IL (concussion) and started the first game. … SS Adalberto Mondesi began a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Thursday and went 0 for 3 with a walk. He has been out since the start of the season (strained right oblique).
Royals LHP Mike Minor (2-2, 5.75) faces White Sox LHP Carlos Rodón (5-0, 0.58 ) on Saturday night. Rodón has been dominant in each of this five starts this season, including a no-hitter on April 14.
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