KANSAS CITY -- The defense did it yet again on Sunday afternoon.
Instead of a flawless weekend in Kansas City, the White Sox sabotaged their first potential sweep at Kauffman Stadium since April 2005 with two eighth-inning errors.
Jesse Crain’s franchise-record scoreless streak was snapped and the Kansas City Royals rallied for three runs in the eighth to stun the White Sox 7-6 in front of 18,622.
Alexei Ramirez’s two-run error on Alcides Escobar’s two-out ground ball put Kansas City ahead for the first time all day. Crain, who hadn’t allowed a run since April 12, a span of 29 innings over 29 games, also committed an error and took the loss after he gave up three unearned runs. Adam Dunn homered and had four RBIs for the White Sox, who dropped back to 11 games below .500.
“I don’t make a bunt play and I could have been out of it and another ball finds away to sneak through,” Crain said. “It’s a tough way to lose the game. We had a chance to sweep, but we’ve just got to look forward to the next game.”
The White Sox seemed on pretty sure footing for their first sweep in Kansas City since April 22-24, 2005 when Crain took the mound.
The White Sox held a 6-4 advantage after Gordon Beckham’s two-run double in the seventh and had their most dependable reliever on the mound.
But Mike Moustakas and David Lough both singled and later advanced 90 feet when Crain couldn’t field Elliott Johnson’s sacrifice bunt. Crain struck out George Kottaras and Jarrod Dyson, but saw his streak snapped and the lead trimmed to 6-5 when he walked Alex Gordon.
Escobar then hit a sharp grounder to Ramirez’s right and it hopped and ate up the shortstop, who made his American-League leading 12th error of the season. The White Sox have committed 53 errors and have 12 games with two or more errors after they made 70 all of last season.
Ramirez, who also made a pair of errors in a one-run loss at Houston last weekend, declined to comment.
But Beckham and manager Robin Ventura came to his defense.
“It’s frustrating, but that ball was hit pretty hard and this is a really hard field,” Beckham said. “That ball hopped up a little bit and we weren’t able to get it. But it’s not for a lack of try, you know? It’s a hard field. It’s not like home.”
Said Ventura: “It gets a little tougher as the game goes on. The field dries out. That’s a tough one.”
Prior to the eighth, the White Sox had a mostly perfect weekend.
Beckham’s two-run double to center off Kelvin Herrera in the top of the seventh inning broke a 4-all tie.
The White Sox also scored four runs off Royals ace James Shields and knocked him out after five innings.
Dunn’s bases-loaded single in the first in gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead.
Two innings later, Dunn launched a 2-1 changeup from Shields over the wall in center for a two-run homer, his 20th. Shields allowed four earned runs and put 11 men on base in five innings. It was the first time in 30 starts Shields hadn’t pitched at least six innings.
Kansas City rallied to tie the game against White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod.
Gordon singled in a run in the third inning to cut the deficit to 4-1. Kottaras and Dyson then started a three-run rally in the fifth inning with back-to-back solo home runs. Billy Butler singled in a run off Axelrod to tie the game at 4.
The White Sox ended their 10-game road trip with a 3-7 record.
Neither Crain or Ventura indicated Sunday’s loss was more difficult to deal with than any others.
“Just chalk it up and tip your cap to them because they did it twice,” Ventura said. “They came back 4-0 and clawed their way back. And then they come back against a guy who hasn’t given up a bunch of runs all year. So, you credit them.”