KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The White Sox can’t seem to stop the bleeding.
The Kansas City Royals inflicted another painful wound on the White Sox on Friday night as they rallied from four runs down for a 7-5 win in front of 28,508 at Kauffman Stadium. Eric Hosmer homered and had a go-ahead, two-run single to send the White Sox to their 12th loss in 16 games. Melky Cabrera had a grand slam, and Todd Frazier also homered during a five-run rally off Royals starter Danny Duffy that had the White Sox well positioned to win. But the White Sox bullpen couldn’t hold the lead as Dan Jennings, Matt Albers and Zach Duke combined to allow three runs in a four-run, seventh-inning Kansas City rally.
The White Sox had to be in high spirits after the sixth inning.
Not only did they finally crack Duffy, who retired the first 16 batters he faced, they broke the game wide open.
Those warm and fuzzy feelings didn’t last very long.
White Sox starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, who celebrated his 32nd birthday Friday, gave up an opposite-field solo homer to Hosmer in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 5-2 game. Gonzalez, who retired 16 of 19 after he allowed a pair of singles to start the game, exited after Brett Eibner’s one-out double in the seventh.
Then all hell broke loose.
Jennings walked Jarrod Dyson and gave way to Albers, who allowed an infield single to Alcides Escobar to load the bases. Rookie Whit Merrifield followed with a two-run single to make it 5-4. After an umpire review, Escobar and Merrifield advanced into scoring position as Albers uncorked a wild pitch. Escobar originally had been ruled out, but review officials overturned the call. Albers struck out Lorenzo Cain and gave way to Duke, as the White Sox opted to face Hosmer with first base open. Duke jumped ahead 0-1 in the count, but Hosmer got enough of a slider off the outside corner to dump it into left for a two-run single.
The White Sox had two aboard in the eighth inning against Kelvin Herrera. But he struck out Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton to strand the pair, and Wade Davis pitched a perfect ninth to close out the game.
After a miserable recent run, the White Sox offense showed signs of life against Duffy in the sixth. Trailing 1-0, Avisail Garcia singled to right with one out, and Dioner Navarro dumped a single into shallow right as well. Austin Jackson also singled to right to load the bases for Cabrera, who jumped on the first pitch he saw for a grand slam — his first since July 29, 2011, when he played for Kansas City. Frazier gave his team a four-run lead with a 413-foot homer to left, his 15th.
Though he was working on a pitch count of 75 to 80, Duffy’s start had all the makings of a special one for 16 outs.
He overpowered White Sox hitters early, striking out four of the first six batters he faced. Rarely did he go deep into any counts, save for at-bats by Jackson and Abreu, both of which resulted in fly ball outs. And none of the contact Duffy induced was hard, either.
For five innings, Duffy was about as perfect as they get against a listless White Sox offense.
Even the way his sixth and final inning began made it look like Duffy had some mojo. Jimmy Rollins hit a hard ground ball that bounced away from Kansas City third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert. But Cuthbert stayed with the play, grabbed the ball and fired in time to retire Rollins.