KANSAS CITY, Mo. — What an implosion.
For a second consecutive game, the White Sox bullpen gave away a contest well in hand.
But Saturday’s version was far more unbelievable than Friday’s.
Trailing by six runs, the Kansas City Royals rallied to score seven times in the bottom of the ninth off David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to send the White Sox to a stunning 8-7 loss at Kauffman Stadium. Brett Eibner’s bases-loaded RBI single off Kahnle delivered another crushing blow to the White Sox, who have lost 13 of their last 17.
Cheslor Cuthbert singled to start an improbable rally and Eibner doubled to deep right when Adam Eaton lost the ball in the sun. Robertson walked Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar consecutively to force in a run. Whit Merrifield’s grounder then hit off Robertson’s glove and a potential double play turned into a two-run single and made it 7-4. Lorenzo Cain just beat out a double play ball to score another run before Eric Hosmer doubled off Robertson to get Kansas City within a run. Drew Butera, who entered in the ninth inning after Salvador Perez exited with a knee injury, doubled off Kahnle to score the tying run.
The White Sox entered the ninth inning without a care in the world. They had bounced back definitively from Friday’s stunner, when the bullpen surrendered a four-run lead over the final three innings.
An opposite-field approach against Yordano Ventura took hold with two outs in the fourth inning. Brett Lawrie, Alex Avila and Avisail Garcia all had opposite-field singles with the last one putting the White Sox ahead 1-0. Tyler Saladino fell behind in the count, but crushed a hanging 0-2 slider from Ventura out to left for a three-run homer and a four-run lead.
The White Sox offense continued to add on against Ventura. Avila doubled with one out in the fourth inning and Garcia pulverized a 2-1 changeup for a two-run shot. Garcia’s homer, his fifth, traveled 428 feet with an exit velocity of 113 mph. It gave the White Sox a 6-1 advantage.
They tacked on another run in the fifth when Austin Jackson singled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by Omar Infante. Jackson went 3-for-5.
Carlos Rodon didn’t handle the run support very well at first.
He labored in the second inning as the Royals brought the tying run to the plate. But Rodon got Alcides Escobar to ground out with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Rodon gave up a leadoff double in the third inning and Friday’s hero, Eric Hosmer, singled to make it a 4-1 game. The Royals got no closer however as Rodon struck out Perez and got Paulo Orlando to line out with a man on third.
Rodon needed 68 pitches to complete three innings. He retired the side in order on 12 pitches in the fourth, which gave him enough gas to complete the fifth inning despite allowing two hits. Rodon retired Hosmer on a comebacker and got Perez to ground out, both with two runners in scoring position.
Zach Putnam took over in the sixth and recorded seven outs on 27 pitches. Zach Duke got the final two outs of the eighth and gave way to Robertson.
Salvador Perez left the game in the ninth inning after he and Cuthbert collided midway between home and third on Eaton’s foul pop up with one out in the ninth. Perez removed the shin guard on his left knee and had to be helped off the field only six days after Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon severely injured each other on a pop up in Chicago. Moustakas is out for the season with a torn ACL while Gordon is on the disabled list with a broken bone in his hand.