Over the last two-plus weeks, the Kansas City Royals battled their tails off to dig out of a hole and get back to .500, only to fall back below by dropping a couple games.
White Sox fans know what that's like. White Sox fans aren't as familiar with how their team handed the Royals their third straight loss, though, because it involved pummeling Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen.
That's something the Sox had never accomplished before, at least since Guthrie joined the Royals. In his previous six starts against Chicago, Guthrie was 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP over 44⅔ innings, and four walks to 31 strikeouts.
He wasn't that Guthrie tonight. In fact, he nearly matched that walk total in the first inning alone, and that set the wheels in motion for the rare, satisfying White Sox rout.
Guthrie showed signs of weakness in the first inning, though, when he nearly matched that aforementioned walk total in the first inning alone. He loaded the bases with one out, then walked in a run with still one out. But when he limited the further damage to a sacrifice fly, it seemed like the Sox might have let him off the hook.
Not true. The Sox greeted him for three straight hits in the fourth to extend their lead to 4-0. Seeing that Guthrie had nothing, Ned Yost pulled him with two on and one out in the inning for Chen. That didn't reverse the flow of the game. Rather, Dayan Viciedo greeted Chen by smashing a three-run homer, and that gave Hector Santiago plenty to work with.
Santiago pitched eight easy innings, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out five. The first two innings weren't as arduous as they normally were -- he needed 37 pitches to get through two innings, but once the Sox forced Guthrie out of the game, everything seemed easier. Eric Hosmer's solo homer in the sixth inning accounted for the only run, and Santiago ended up throwing just 106 pitches.
And Hosmer's shot only made it an eight-run game, because Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run shot for his 10th homer in the top of the sixth, setting a new personal best.