White Sox blow big lead in 8-7 loss to Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) It was a stunning collapse for the Chicago White Sox, and third baseman Todd Frazier is interested to see how his team responds.
The White Sox blew a six-run lead in the ninth inning of an 8-7 loss at Kansas City on Saturday. Brett Eibner, playing his second big league game, singled to cap the biggest ninth-inning comeback in Royals history, a seven-run rally off David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.
''It might have a lasting effect,'' Frazier said. ''I know there are going to be some guys in here that aren't going to be real happy. But, once you get in here and start over again, I've learned from the best, it's a new day, act like nothing happened. Just go about your business. We're all professionals. We've seen crazy things in baseball. This is one of them.''
Chicago has lost five straight and 13 of 17 to drop out of first in the AL Central. It also blew a 5-1 lead during a 7-5 loss on Friday.
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.
''I wouldn't say I'm shocked or surprised we didn't win that game,'' White Sox catcher Alex Avila said. ''To be honest with you, 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.''
Eibner, who made his big league debut Friday, had two hits in the ninth - the second and third 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 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 Cheslor 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 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.
''It's tough, especially after yesterday,'' White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ''It's happened to us a few times. You come back today and get yourself some runs. As difficult as yesterday was, you get yourself some runs and get into a position where you can earn a win. Guys driving in some runs, hitting some homers, then that last inning, a couple walks, a tipped ball, things like that. You can't close it out, and you get punished like that.
''There's no shot clock, there's no time clock. If you can't close it out, that's what happens. Today we couldn't close it out.''
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, Avila, Garcia and Saladino - went a combined 8 for 16 with six runs.
Kansas City's Salvador Perez was injured in the ninth when third baseman 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 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.
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 road.