KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) MJ Melendez broke an eighth-inning tie with a single to help the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on Friday night.

With one out, Melendez hit a soft liner to left off Michael Kopech (0-1) to score pinch-runner Dairon Blanco.

Chris Stratton (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth for the victory.

In the ninth inning, Luis Robert Jr. doubled down the left-field line with one out, pulling up lame at second with a left hip flexor injury. Robert suffered a similar injury in 2021, missing over three months of the season.

James McArthur entered the game with the tying run at second and induced an ending double-play grounder for his first save.

“It was a hard-fought game,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “We really didn’t get much going until the later innings. We had a couple of opportunities to do something and didn’t capitalize.”

The Royals opened the scoring in the first inning on the first of Salvador Pérez’s three hits, a two-out RBI double off the top of the wall in center. Pérez is tied for second in the American League with nine RBIs.

Melendez, Pérez, and Bobby Witt Jr. rank among AL leaders in slugging, homers, and OPS.

“Last season, I faced immense pressure to perform at the plate, which affected my mental preparation” Melendez said. “I made adjustments in the second half of the season and worked on my swing during the offseason.”

Gavin Sheets tied it with a leadoff homer in the second, lifting starter Brady Singer’s slider 391 feet down the line in right.

After the homer, Singer retired the next 15 hitters consecutively on 48 pitches, striking out four and getting nine ground balls.

“We made a lot of quick outs,” Grifol said. “Got to give credit to Singer. He was really pounding the strike zone, keeping the ball down (with) heavy sink. He was a ground-ball machine today.”

Singer faced two more than the minimum in completing 6 1/3 innings, while allowing a run on two hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

Royals starters lead the majors with seven quality starts.

White Sox starter Erick Fedde worked five innings, allowing a run on six hits and two walks, with four strikeouts. He exited in the sixth after allowing a leadoff hit to Pérez and a walk to Melendez.

Reliever John Brebbia retired the next two batters, leaving after injuring his right calf while fielding a soft grounder. Steven Wilson struck out Hunter Renfroe to end the threat, stranding a runner at third.

Chicago has played five one-run games, losing four.


White Sox OF Eloy Jiménez was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Tuesday because of a left adductor strain.


The White Sox selected the contract of OF Robbie Grossman from Triple-A Charlotte and designated RHP Alex Speas for assignment.


White Sox RHP Chris Flexen (0-1, 8.31) opposes Royals RHP Michael Wacha (0-0, 5.40) Saturday night.


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