White Sox bullpen fails again in 5-4 loss to Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Since starting the season 23-10 and opening a six-game lead in the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox have gone into a tailspin.
Cheslor Cuthbert drove in the go-ahead run with an infield hit in a three-run eighth, and the Kansas City Royals rallied for the third straight game in a 5-4 win over the White Sox on Sunday.
Chicago wasted a 4-2 lead in the eighth after failing to protect a 5-2 seventh-inning advantage on Friday and a 7-1 ninth-inning margin on Saturday.
White Sox relievers allowed 14 runs, 15 hits and eight walks over 6 1/3 innings in the three-game series.
''If that's our worries right now, is our bullpen, I think we're in a great spot,'' said Chris Sale, who left with a 4-2 lead after seven innings. ''They've got a good offense. It's going to happen. You can't expect everybody to be perfect every time. I like our chances of those guys getting it together, no doubt.''
Chicago's bullpen is 1-7 in its past 17 games.
''It's a tough three days for the bullpen,'' White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ''You had opportunities, and you let those slip away. So, you've got to grind through it and be tough. Offensively we fought back and still got ourselves in position.''
Chicago has lost six straight and 14 of its last 18, falling into third place behind the Royals and Cleveland.
''We're too good of a team,'' Sale said. ''I can't tell you enough that this is nothing but a speedbump. ... This was as bad of a series as you could possibly have, and there's still no doubt in our minds that we're going to push through this and figure it out and find a way to get back and win some ballgames.''
Sale was on track to become the major leagues' first 10-game winner. Lorenzo Cain homered with one out in the eighth off Nate Jones (2-1), Hosmer doubled, and Kansas City loaded the bases with Kendrys Morales' walk and Paulo Orlando's single.
''I just feel bad for Sale,'' Jones said. ''He worked his tail off for seven innings and the offense did their job. Today was definitely my fault.''
Jones walked Brett Eibner on a low, outside pitch, forcing in the tying run. Matt Albers relieved and Cuthbert hit a grounder that second baseman Brett Lawrie snagged with a dive as pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson came home from third. Lawrie's throw from his back went about 10 feet, and first baseman Jose Abreu picked up the ball and threw out Orlando at the plate.
Chris Young (2-5), activated from the disabled list Saturday, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and Wade Davis threw a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 15 chances.
Sale fell behind in the first when Cain hit an RBI double and scored on Hosmer's single. Sale allowed six hits and struck out six.
Orlando made a diving catch in right to rob Austin Jackson on an extra-base hit in the seventh, holding the White Sox to a sacrifice fly.
Whit Merrifield has hit in all eight Royals games he has started.
Royals: C Salvador Perez is expected to be out seven to 10 days with a bruised left thigh, the result of a collision with Cuthbert while catching a foul pop up Saturday. A MRI detected no structural damage. . Morales played for the first time since Tuesday after missing three games with a swollen right middle finger knuckle.
White Sox: Jackson left in the eighth inning with left foot toe turf. ''Serious enough for him to come out the game,'' Ventura said. He said he does not know if Jackson will have to go on the disabled list.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana (5-4) is to start Monday's series opener at the New York Mets, who will start Matt Harvey.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (4-3) will start Monday against Tampa Bay and Matt Andriese.