Every time the White Sox rise to face a measuring stick, they get clubbed back into the ground by it.
While the Yankees hammered the Sox with a couple big blows, the Royals went about with a methodical tap-tap-tap. Three games, three one-run losses.
This one resembled the last 5-4 defeat they suffered (against the Rays on Monday) -- the White Sox clawed back into this game twice, but they could never take the lead, and the bullpen provided the awful aftertaste.
Jake Petricka came into a freshly tied game against the bottom of the Kansas City lineup, only to get beat by Alex Rios (single), Paulo Orlando (ground-rule double) and Omar Infante (sawed-off spinner that scored Rios).
The Orlando at-bat was the key, as Petricka left a sinker up, and Orlando crushed it to the left-center gap. The Sox were momentarily spared when it bounced off the warning track and over the wall, but the threat was still strong enough that even a terrible swing by Infante did the job. Infante tried to get around on a pitch closer to his face than the strike zone, and nearly lost his thumbs in the process. Yet the contact was perfectly weak, as even with a drawn-in infield, Jose Abreu couldn't get to it soon enough to get Rios at the plate, even with a barehanded pickup.
Petricka avoided further damage by getting a bases-loaded double play, but the damage was done. Ryan Madson pitched the ninth after Greg Holland saved the first two, and he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Like Holland on Saturday, Madson ended the game by getting a non-strike strike three -- this one in off the plate to Geovany Soto.
Petricka's half-inning drained the excitement from the top of the inning. Ned Yost brought in Kelvin Herrera with a one-run lead, but Adam Eaton led off with a double over Orlando's head in left. He moved up to third on a weak groundout by Alexei Ramirez. Jose Abreu couldn't get the job done, grounding out to Mike Moustakas for the second out, but Melky Cabrera picked him up by slashing a shot through the left side to make it a 4-4 game.
That was the story for the Sox today -- able to tie it up, never able to get ahead. They were able to allow Jose Quintana to restart the game after he fell behind 3-0 over the first four batters (Alcides Escobar walk, Ben Zobrist strikeout, Eric Hosmer double, Kendrys Morales opposite-field homer), because Danny Duffy unraveled two innings later.
Duffy started the third by walking Carlos Sanchez and plunking Tyler Flowers. After an early coaching visit, Gordon Beckham picked up his first RBI since June with a single to center. A wild pitch moved up both runners during Eaton's at-bat, and while he struck out, Ramirez came through with a two-run single to tie the game at 3.
The Sox knocked out Duffy in the fourth, but not with any more runs. Trayce Thompson singled with one out, and Sanchez moved him to third with a hit-and-run. Ned Yost went to the bullpen for Kris Medlen, and Medlen escaped the jam by striking out Flowers and getting Beckham to fly out.
The Sox might've been able to rattle Medlen after Eaton led off the fifth with a walk, but Medlen picked him off (Eaton lost his balance on his stride back to the bag, and lost contact long enough for Hosmer to re-tag him). He retired the next eight without incident to get the game to Herrera.
Medlen was briefly in line for the win, too, as the Royals manufactured a run off Quintana in the fifth. Dyson led off with a single, moved to second on a sac bunt by Escobar and scored on a Zobrist single.
The Royals threatened for more off Quintana, stringing together a two-out single and walk to chase him from the game. Zach Duke complicated matters by walking Hosmer to load the bases, but he retired Morales on a weak groundout to spare Quintana's stat line.
Cabrera's RBI single in the top of the eighth spared Quintana the loss, but that's about the best that came from this one. He's still winless in 16 career starts against the Royals, but his record holds at 0-6. The Sox are 3-10 against the Royals this season, and 0-6 at Kauffman Stadium.
Record: 51-58 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights