One day after working around a two-out "triple" to extend his scoreless-inning streak to 29, Jesse Crain ramped up the degree of difficulty on himself when trying to hold a 6-4 lead in the eighth inning. He allowed the first two men to reach, then failed to come up with a sac bunt which would've done him a favor.
Even then, it looked like Crain could overcome it. He struck out George Kottaras, and then he struck out Jarrod Dyson, bringing Alex Gordon to the plate. The streak ended there, and so did the luck.
Crain didn't give Gordon anything to offer at, resulting in a five-pitch walk that narrowed the gap to one. Then Alcides Escobar followed by hitting a sharp grounder to Alexei Ramirez's left. Ramirez got there, and positioned his body to record the force play at second. But he didn't have his hands in position to handle the hop correctly, and it glanced off him in and into left field for a two-run error that gave the Royals the game.
Teams that dig holes for themselves need winning streaks to climb out of them. The 52nd and 53rd errors show that this team can't get out of its own way in order to let that happen.
The Sox certainly can't afford to blow two leads as they did today. The snapped James Shields' six-inning streak at 29 games by touching him up for four runs over five innings. Adam Dunn did the heavy lifting by rocketing a two-run single off Eric Hosmer in the first, then hitting a two-run shot to center in the third. A better offense team could've done more, because Shields looked lousy. He allowed seven hits and three walks (plus a hit batsman) over five innings, but only Dunn could deliver the big hits.
And they needed to do more damage, too, because Dylan Axelrod appears to be running out of moxie. He hit a wall in the fifth inning, allowing Kansas City's first back-to-back homers all season as Kottaras and Dyson both took him out to right. He held a 4-0 lead after two and a 4-1 lead after three, and he didn't even come out of the game in position to win. Robin Ventura (corrrectly) pulled him after 4⅔ innings, over which he gave up 10 hits.
The Sox had inefficiency issues when it came to the offense -- they stranded 10, went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position, and were 3-for-5 stealing bases (caught by two pitchouts). At least Gordon Beckham came through when it counted, though. With runners on first and second and one out, he sent a 100-mph Kelvin Herrera fastball over Herrera's head -- and over Dyson's head, too. It landed short of the track, and bounced off the top of the fence. That turned out to be huge, because it allowed both runners to score, giving what appeared to be a safe 6-4 lead.
Appearances can be deceiving. Error totals can be, too, but that isn't the case this season.