KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The White Sox can’t seem to stop the bleeding.
The Kansas City Royals inflicted another painful wound on Friday night as they rallied from four runs down to send the White Sox to a 7-5 loss in front of 28,508 at Kauffman Stadium. Eric Hosmer homered and drove in four runs, including a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning 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 that had the White Sox well positioned to win. But the bullpen faltered again as Dan Jennings, Matt Albers and Zach Duke combined to allow three runs in a four-run, seventh-inning Kansas City rally.
“It’s one of those games, not really much to say,” Frazier said. “They just kept clawing back. They came after us (in the seventh) and kept chipping away, and that’s what they do. We gotta find a way to put the fire out, and we couldn’t do it.”
The White Sox had to be in high spirits after the top of the sixth inning.
Not only did they finally crack Royals starter Danny 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 as the White Sox used five pitchers to navigate the inning.
Jennings walked Jarrod Dyson, and Albers entered and 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 — who originally was ruled out — and Merrifield advanced into scoring position when Albers uncorked a wild pitch.
Albers struck out 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, who also had an RBI groundout in the first, dumped a slider off the outside corner into left for a 6-5 lead.
Nate Jones entered and recorded the final out of the seventh. He allowed an insurance run in the eighth.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he preferred to face Hosmer with Duke versus loading the bases for Salvador Perez and calling upon Jones.
“You consider it,” Ventura said. “I mean you load it up, you don’t give Jonesy much to work with there. Dukie has had some good numbers against Hosmer.”
The White Sox had a chance with two on in the eighth against Kelvin Herrera, but he struck out Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton. Wade Davis pitched a scoreless ninth to close it out.
Duffy looked content to extend a recent miserable run by the White Sox offense.
Working on a pitch count of 75 to 80, Duffy’s start looked special 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 Austin Jackson and Abreu, both of which resulted in fly ball outs. And none of the contact Duffy induced was hard, either.
Then they woke up.
Trailing 1-0, Avisail Garcia singled to right with one out, and Dioner Navarro dumped a single into shallow right. 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.
But all it added up to was another deep cut inflicted by the Royals.
“It’s tough,” Albers said. “We’re battling. We’re not giving in. There’s nobody hanging their heads. You’ve got to battle. It’s tough. Long season. It’s never fun going through these stretches, but you can’t let it get you down, can’t let it change the fun part of the game, going after hitters, for me especially. Just get ready for tomorrow and try to get some more outs.”