Despite taking the field on a warm afternoon with conditions conducive to hitting, the White Sox could only futilely flail away at their defending World Series champion opponents.
Jose Quintana lost his sixth straight game as the White Sox fell, 4-1, to the Kansas City Royals Saturday afternoon in front of 31,183 at U.S. Cellular Field. It was another start for the 27-year-old left-hander that featured a head-scratching lack of run support.
Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy dominated over his six innings of work, littering the box score with K’s as he racked up a career high 10 strikeouts. The only White Sox run came when Avisail Garcia flipped an RBI single to right with two outs on the ninth.
The White Sox failed to capitalize in the first inning against Duffy, when Adam Eaton walked and Jose Abreu singled to begin the game. Melky Cabrera then decided on his own put down a bunt — seemingly to get a hit, as he tried to push it past Duffy to the right side — but was unsuccessful at reaching base. Todd Frazier struck out and Brett Lawrie flied out to end the threat.
“(Duffy’s) really become effective with his changeup,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He's always had a good curveball but the changeup, especially today, I think is the best we've seen him. With the conditions today and not being able to get anything in the air and not really getting anything hard off him, that first inning, we had a shot there and he snuffed that out. After that he was in control.”
Frazier absorbed responsibility for not bringing in a run in that situation, which he said could’ve changed the complexion of the afternoon.
“(It) takes one pitch, one at-bat to change the whole outcome of the game,” Frazier said. “For me, the first inning was big. That changed everything.”
The White Sox didn’t record a baserunner after Frazier walked in the third inning until his one-out single in the ninth — a stretch of 17 consecutive outs. The White Sox finished the afternoon with 13 strikeouts, one short of a season-high set June 1 against the New York Mets.
The Royals made Quintana pay for a handful of mistakes, with Cheslor Cuthbert belting solo home runs in the third and eighth innings and Kendrys Morales ripping a solo homer in the right field bullpen in the fifth. Those were half the hits recorded by Kansas City, though, and Quintana finished his eight innings with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
The White Sox haven’t scored more than three runs in any of Quintana’s 17 losses since the beginning of the 2015 season and scored one or fewer for the 13th time.
“Everyone in this clubhouse feels awful when we can’t produce for him,” Eaton said. “Just in general our offense hasn’t been that lively here lately. So that has something to do with it as well. But we gotta get going offensively. We really do. It’s been stagnant on the basepaths. You don’t even have an effective at-bat, top to bottom, it hasn’t been there. Our pitching staff has been giving us good outings, so we gotta step it up offensively.”
Right-hander Tyler Danish made his major league debut in the ninth and allowed a run on a walk and two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
The White Sox still haven’t won three games in a row in over a month (the last was May 7-9), while Kansas City ended and eight-game losing streak on Saturday.