Royals

Royals fall to the White Sox 11-3. Two defensive plays summarize the loss.

Royals starter Jason Hammel flipped his glove in the air after he was taken out in the fourth inning of Monday’s game against the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Hammel gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Royals starter Jason Hammel flipped his glove in the air after he was taken out in the fourth inning of Monday’s game against the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Hammel gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Not 20 minutes after another loss, an 11-3 setback to the Chicago White Sox that dimmed playoff hopes, Jason Hammel returned to a quiet clubhouse and stood near his locker. It was Monday night at Kauffman Stadium. He had been at the center of the mess, a disappointing performance that included a forgettable start, some defensive gaffes and middling offense. He sought to find the right way to categorize the evening.

“A weird night,” he said.

That was one way to put it. It was mostly unmemorable.

The Royals (71-72) fell below .500 for another night, and here, just 22 months removed from a World Series championship, they face reality.

Their offense ranks 12th in the American League in runs scored, weighed down by a feeble bottom of the lineup. Their starting pitching has been shredded by injuries and fatigue; their bullpen gutted by an offseason trade that has yet to bear fruit.

Kansas City Royals pitcher Danny Duffy threw three innings of a simulated game Monday and is hoping to get off the disabled list soon, despite the pain in his elbow.

If there is to be one final run in the season’s final three weeks, there was scant evidence of it here. The White Sox entered the day 56-86, one of the worst teams in baseball. They finished it 7-7 against the Royals in 2017.

And yet, there were also two moments in the sixth inning Monday night, two plays that illustrated a .500 team playing to form.

First, there was third baseman Mike Moustakas, hobbled by a nagging knee injury. He could not plant his right leg on a throw and airmailed the ball to first base. And then there was center fielder Lorenzo Cain, battling a sore quad. He could not complete a simple double play, botching a throw back to the infield after Chicago’s Avisail Garcia found himself more than 100 feet off first base.

The miscues gifted the White Soxtwo extra outs in the inning.Moments later, Chicago’s Adam Engel cranked a three-run homer against reliever Brandon Maurer that carried into the fountains in left-center, a capstone on a six-run inning.

“It was just one of those games we got to forget,” Hammel said.

The two mistakes were not the only factors in another rout, of course. Hammel was hounded for five runs in 3  1/3 innings, his shortest outing since April 30. The Kansas City offense managed just three runs against rookie starter Reynaldo Lopez, a 23-year-old who entered with a 4.84 ERA. But perhaps the sixth inning signaled why a spirited charge this month seems so unlikely, why the Royals feel more removed from the playoffs than the three games that separate them from Minnesota in the American League wild-card race.

Moustakas is ostensibly playing on one good leg, still sitting on 36 homers after clubbing just one in his last 22 games. On Monday, the pain appeared to surface on two errant throws to first. The first came on a potential double play in the fourth in which Moustakas stepped on third base and spiked a throw to first. The second came after the White Sox had struck for a run in the sixth on a single by Yoan Moncada and a triple by Jose Abreu.

Left fielder Nicky Delmonico hit a routine grounder to third. Moustakas flubbed the throw, appearing tentative on his right leg. Royals manager Ned Yost disputed that the knee injury affected the play.

“Hurts his range,” he said. “Not on his throwing.”

The error still counted the same. Chicago’s Garcia followed with an RBI single before Omar Narvaez lined out to center on a hit-and-run. Garcia did not pick up the baseball in the air and rounded second on the play. But Cain could not garner much authority on the throw, heaving an off-line toss that shortstop Alcides Escobar failed to cut off. Garcia scampered back to the bag. The situation would only deteriorate.

The good news: The Royals lost just a half-game to Minnesota, which was off on Monday. They will seek to even the series with Chicago on Tuesday in a rare 12:15 p.m. first pitch. (Thank you, U2 concert at Arrowhead Stadium.) Rookie Sam Gaviglio will make his second start following a solid effort against the Twins last week. Kansas City cannot afford many more outings like the one on Monday.

Hammel, who had gone at least six innings in seven of his last eight starts, was pillaged for two runs in the first inning and another in the second. The White Sox were aggressive, he said. His slider was solid, but his teammates noted that he may have been tipping pitches in the early innings. He corrected the issue, yet he lasted just 3  1/3 innings, yielding 10 hits and two walks, done in by two swinging bunts and a walk in the fourth.

“Very frustrating,” Hammel said. “Because you’re making pitches. It’s tough to deal with one swinging bunt, let alone two.”

The offense, meanwhile, was mostly quiet. First baseman Eric Hosmer recorded a single in the second inning, extending his streak of nine hits in nine straight at-bats. It would end in the bottom of the fourth, just one hit shy of tying Joe Randa’s franchise record.

Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer talks about being chosen American League Player of the Week. He also discusses his family riding out Hurricane Irma and what it takes to make the playoffs.

Brandon Moss clubbed a solo homer to right in the bottom of the fifth, giving the Royals four players with 20 homers for the third time in franchise history. For a moment, the deficit was just 5-3 after five. But then night fell apart.

The Royals lost again. Gaviglio will start on Tuesday. Rookie Eric Skoglund is slated to take the ball Wednesday. These are the arms that must save the series.

“We got a quick turnaround tomorrow,” Hammel said. “And we’re still very much in this thing. Just an off night.”

White Sox 11, Royals 3

Chicago

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Sanchez 3b

5

3

2

0

1

3

.270

Moncada 2b

6

2

3

2

0

1

.197

Abreu 1b

5

1

4

2

1

0

.306

Delmonico lf

5

1

0

1

1

2

.269

Garcia rf

5

1

2

2

0

1

.323

Liriano rf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.222

Narvaez c

5

0

2

0

0

1

.270

Davidson dh

5

0

0

0

0

2

.219

Anderson ss

5

1

1

0

0

3

.252

Engel cf

4

2

3

3

0

1

.185

Totals

45

11

17

10

3

14

 

Royals

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Merrifield 2b

3

1

1

1

0

0

.288

c-Bonifacio ph-rf

1

0

0

0

0

1

.251

Cain cf

3

0

2

1

0

0

.300

Orlando cf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.175

Cabrera rf

3

0

0

0

0

0

.292

Gallagher c

1

0

0

0

0

1

.333

Hosmer 1b

3

0

1

0

0

0

.328

Cuthbert 1b-3b

1

0

1

0

0

0

.232

Perez c

3

0

0

0

0

0

.261

Butera c-1b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.248

Moustakas 3b

3

0

0

0

0

0

.275

Torres 3b-2b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.239

Moss dh

3

1

2

1

0

0

.205

d-Gore ph-dh

1

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Escobar ss

2

0

0

0

0

0

.247

a-Mondesi ph-ss

2

0

1

0

0

0

.143

Gordon lf

2

1

1

0

0

1

.208

b-Soler ph-lf

2

0

0

0

0

0

.151

Totals

36

3

9

3

0

4

 

Chicago

210

206

000

11

17

0

Royals

000

030

000

3

9

1

a-singled for Escobar in the 7th. b-flied out for Gordon in the 7th. c-struck out for Merrifield in the 7th. d-lined out for Moss in the 9th.

E: Moustakas (11). LOB: Chicago 11, Kansas City 6. 2B: Sanchez (16), Abreu (38), Cuthbert (7). 3B: Moncada (2), Abreu (6), Merrifield (6). HR: Engel (6), off Maurer; Moss (20), off Lopez. RBIs: Moncada 2 (14), Abreu 2 (92), Delmonico (15), Garcia 2 (69), Engel 3 (18), Merrifield (70), Cain (47), Moss (41). SB: Engel (7).

Runners left in scoring position: Chicago 5 (Delmonico, Garcia, Narvaez, Davidson, Anderson); Kansas City 3 (Hosmer, Escobar, Torres). RISP: Chicago 5 for 15; Kansas City 1 for 5. Runners moved up: Delmonico.

Chicago

I

H

R

ER

W

K

P

ERA

Lopez W, 1-3

6

8

3

3

0

1

95

4.76

Infante

2

1

0

0

0

3

24

3.33

Alburquerque

1

0

0

0

0

0

9

3.18

Royals

I

H

R

ER

W

K

P

ERA

Hammel L, 8-11

3.1

10

5

5

2

7

85

4.91

Moylan

1.1

0

0

0

0

3

24

3.74

Buchter

0.1

2

3

2

0

1

14

3.26

Maurer

0.2

3

3

3

0

0

17

6.40

Cahill

3.1

2

0

0

1

3

50

4.91

Buchter pitched to 3 batters in the 6th. Lopez pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

Inherited runners-scored: Infante 1-0, Moylan 3-1, Buchter 1-0, Maurer 1-1. HBP: Moylan (Engel). WP: Lopez.

Umpires: Home, Ryan Blakney; First, Jerry Meals; Second, Ron Kulpa; Third, Chris Conroy. Time: 3:16. Att: 23,135.

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