Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Pérez hit a regular grounder but shortstop Tim Anderson, but first baseman Jose Abreu refused a low throw and was charged with a mistake.
A slip in the fourth inning sent the ball off the ground in a two-run rally for the Royals.
That sums up how the past few weeks have gone for the Chicago White Sox, who lost for the eighth consecutive time in a 6-0 loss on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“You have to hold on,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “There were a couple of mistakes here and there. Then we did a couple of great pranks later to show we were still playing. It shows what we are capable of.
“The biggest problem was not getting the ball over the plate. The wind was blowing, there were several balloons that did not fly anywhere. We were 11 guys. It was just a night where we had no power and their pitchers did.”
The Sox struggled on defense and at the plate during the slide. Both issues resurfaced at the start of the series on Tuesday, along with an inability to hit consistently.
The Sox lost for the first time in 2022. They scored three or fewer runs in 10 of the last 11 games.
Abreu and Anderson made mistakes, giving the Sox a 20th seed in the big leagues this season. They erred in 15 of 16 games and nine in a row, their longest streak of sloppiness since making a mistake in 10 straight games from June 24 to July 3, 2017.
The 11 walks were a record season and matched their most since September 20, 2020 in Cincinnati.
This combination led to their first eight-game losing streak from June 14–22, 2018.
“I see it in the dugout, they get upset when they should be upset,” La Russa said. “They’re trying to force things because they don’t like the way it’s going. They get frustrated when they don’t play as well as they should. Everything that is part of it, the heart and intestines are intact. It’s not fun. It’s hard to accept.
“I’m sure the fans are unhappy, but so is the club. Everything else about how we do it – care, pressure – if you have that kind of talent and you have to catch up with the guys to get started, or they walk around smiling, or not working, then you have the wrong people. We have the right people. So we’ll be fine. But the sooner the better, because we are not in the mood for fun.
Sox starter Dallas Keuchel allowed two unearned runs on two hits with five walks and two strikeouts in four-plus innings.
“Today it all started with me,” Keuhel said. “I would like to improve efficiency a bit.”
Both unearned runs came in fourth. Perez scored on a Bobby Witt, Jr. hit in the infield when third baseman Jake Burger failed to field the ball cleanly.
“I think from the periphery I saw Witt pretty far at the end of the line and that probably caused the error a bit,” Burger said. “I have to be better there. My only game there is home plate with Perez running. It’s obviously a tough game, but I have to play better.”
Carlos Santana, who reached on a walk, scored in first place.
The Royals broke the game with four runs in the sixth. The Sox dropped three hits, including Santana’s two-run single, and went in the inning four times.
The frenzy shifted from Sunday when the Sox went nine in a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins in 10 innings. The Sox allowed at least nine consecutive walks in games for the first time since June 22-23, 1996, when they walked 10 Seattle Mariners on the first day and nine the next day.
Meanwhile, the Sox once again failed to achieve much on offense. They were limited to five hits, two of which came from Burger, and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Royals starter Daniel Lynch allowed two hits and scored seven over six innings.
“We win and we lose as a team,” Burger said. “All we can do is reappear (on Wednesday) and start. This is the name of the game. There is a reason why there are 162.”
The Sox are batting .171 (12 of 70) with runners in scoring position in their last 13 games and have a .194 (37 of 191) average with runners on base this season.
“Those stretches happen throughout the season, most often, even for clubs that finish first,” La Russa said. “I can confirm this. The reality is that this is indeed a great advantage in the competition. It’s not like it’s really one-sided and you get a little funky and that’s okay. You find yourself on the wrong side of it and it’s hard to win the game.
“I do not doubt the talent, I do not doubt the care. We just have to do better. Don’t get frustrated and don’t deviate from the ABC of what we should be doing. And keep sticking together, no matter how trite it may sound – win together, lose together, never give up, never give up. All this, that’s how you go through six months.
“The same if we won eight in a row right now. Start walking like we did, the game will give you a slap. At this level, it’s mostly between the ears. Ears, heart, intestines. And we need to have some success in order to launch it. For example, (Wednesday) afternoon.”