It did involve a late rally coming up short. The Sox had the tying run at third base with two outs in the eighth after Avisail Garcia doubled home the Sox’ second run on a lucky bounce, but J.B. Shuck grounded out, and Wade Davis struck out the side in the ninth for the save.
Gonzalez pitched like he has been pitching. He entered the game with a 3.82 ERA, and after allowing three runs over seven innings, it now stands at 3.83. Alas, Alcides Escobar dropped a drive just fair in the right field corner for a leadoff triple in the sixth, Hunter Dozier drove him in with a single, and Dozier scored three batters later when Eric Hosmer chopped a single through the middle with two outs, giving the Royals the last run they needed.
The Sox offense, which was dormant for most of the night, woke up in the eighth against long reliever Dillon Gee. Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera singled with one out to end Gee’s night. In came Joakim Soria, who struck out Todd Frazier before inducing a chopper down the third-base line from Garcia. As luck would have it, the ball clipped the side of the bag and caromed toward the wall behind the camera well. Abreu scored on the lucky double, and Robin Ventura called back Jason Coats for Shuck. Better contact didn’t lead to a better outcome. Shuck hit a bouncer up the middle, but Escobar ranged to his left and made a throw on the run to get Shuck by a fraction of a step.
The Sox did manage to take a lead in this one, but it disappeared before the full first inning ended. Tim Anderson singled with one out, beat the throw to second on Abreu’s chopper to short (Robin Ventura challenged and won) and came around on Cabrera’s bouncer back through the box. But the Royals tied it up in the bottom of the inning when Jarrod Dyson singled, Whit Merrifield bunted his way on, and both executed a double steal. Gonzalez did well to limit the Royals to a sac fly.
The White Sox just couldn’t find that second wave of offense, either against Vargas (who was limited to three innings in his first MLB start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2015) or Gee (who pitched four shutout innings before running into trouble in the eighth). After the first, the eighth inning was the only other time consecutive batters reached.
*Kevan Smith started and collected his first MLB hit on a single through the middle.
*Frazier grabbed a share of the team lead with his 12th steal.