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Royals 7, White Sox 5: A five-pitcher inning

Robin Ventura used five pitchers in an inning that started with a three-run lead, but it gets worse

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

With one out in the seventh inning, Miguel Gonzalez gave up a double to Billy Eibner. That was it for the White Sox' fifth starter. Gonzalez departed after a job well done and a 5-2 lead.

Four relievers later, the White Sox trailed 6-5. Robin Ventura did not call for Nate Jones until they trailed.

But while trying to hold a lead and keep Kansas City's best relievers out of the game, he did use Dan Jennings for one batter (a walk). Then he used Matt Albers, who gave up a pair of hits (one unlucky, one not), which allowed two runs to score to make it a 5-4 game. Then Albers threw a wild pitch to allow both runners to move into scoring position. He did strike out Lorenzo Cain to bring Eric Hosmer to the plate, after which Ventura brought in Zach Duke, who gave up an opposite-field go-ahead single.

Finally, with the Sox trailing 6-5, Ventura brought in one of his reliable relievers to finish the inning. Jones got the strikeout.

Ventura could have brought in Jones earlier. He also could've pitched around Hosmer and gone to Jones against Sal Perez. The bases might've been loaded, but at least he would've had his best non-David Robertson reliever on the mound with a lead.

Alas. Albers was in there long enough to pick up his fourth loss in his last seven games. Zach Putnam, who is fine against lefties, is somehow the mop-up guy and wasn't even a thought.

A five-pitcher inning is a sign of panic managing. A five-pitcher inning where no good reliever had a chance to protect the lead is a helluva thing to try to explain. This is why Royals fans make fun of Robin Ventura, and that's a helluva thing to try to defend.

Record: 27-22 | Box score | Highlights