Royals

Continuing their struggles with runners in scoring position, Royals lose to White Sox

Minutes before he entertained a trio of reporters in his Kauffman Stadium office on Thursday afternoon, Royals manager Ned Yost had to sort through some papers to find his team’s record.

He didn’t know it off-hand. He’d been avoiding it, more than likely out of habit.

But he didn't need much of a point of reference — he's sat in the dugout enough to know how often his team has lost during the first month of this season.

Finally, he found the mark. The Royals were 5-17.

Relief poured over him.

“We’re better than I thought,” Yost said.

He’d guessed the Royals were 5-20. Not because he didn’t believe in the talent on his team — he defended them with fervor following the comment, citing a never-quit attitude and palpable energy in the dugout and the clubhouse — but maybe because this squad hasn’t caught breaks this season.

The Royals were forced into three April doubleheaders because of weather, one of them scheduled after the roof of the domed Rogers Centre sustained damage from an ice storm in Toronto.

The Royals entered Thursday ranked third in baseball with a 38.2 percent hard-hit rate, according to Fangraphs, yet had seen little come of the solid contact. They ranked last in runs scored with 72 and were 29th with a batting average of .192 (32 for 167) with runners in scoring position.

Much of that failure is self-inflicted, including this most recent twist of fate: Starting pitcher Jakob Junis, who has at times in his short career been considered the stopper of a losing streak, tied a club record for most home runs allowed by one Royals pitcher in a game when he allowed five in Thursday’s series-opening 6-3 loss to the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

"You hear the old adage, solo homers won’t beat you," Yost said. "But I guess when they hit four of them, they might."

The White Sox struck early. Yoan Moncada string-lined a homer into the Royals bullpen in right field to lead off the game.

In the fourth inning, Wellington Castillo added the White Sox’s second homer, another one hit at such a low angle that the baseball only reached a height of 63 feet in its flight to the visiting bullpen.

Matt Davidson, who has seven homers this season and has hit five of them against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, knocked a pair out of the ballpark on Thursday. And Trayce Thompson joined the parade with a leadoff homer of his own in the fifth.

Coupled with a Moncada single in the third, Junis allowed only six hits. The White Sox just made the most of them, as Junis was charged all six of their runs through his 5 2/3 innings.

“I felt good. I felt like my heater had some life," Junis said. "Threw some good curveballs, good change-up. Definitely didn’t feel like I wasn’t working without something.”

The opposite case presented itself on offense.

Exacerbating their woes, the Royals led off back-to-back innings with doubles off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito — Ryan Goins in the fifth and Mike Moustakas in the sixth — but couldn’t drive either base runner home.

Goins and Salvador Perez then led off the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, with singles. Only Perez scored, as Alcides Escobar fisted a two-out, bases-loaded single into shallow center field. No other runs scored on the hit. Jon Jay struck out to end the threat.

The Royals, who dropped to 5-18, stranded 11 men on base and were 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Their struggles rendered Jorge Soler's towering two-run homer to left field in the fourth inning useless.

“We all know it. We all know we’re not producing," Moustakas said. "I left a bunch of runners out there tonight. It’s obviously frustrating. We’ll keep fighting and it will come around.”

White Sox 6, Royals 3

ChicagoAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Moncada 2b

5

1

3

1

0

2

.264

Anderson ss

5

0

0

0

0

1

.262

Sanchez 3b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.299

Castillo c

3

2

1

1

1

0

.255

Palka dh

4

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Davidson 1b

3

2

2

3

0

1

.225

Garcia lf

3

0

0

0

1

1

.171

Thompson rf

4

1

1

1

0

1

.154

Engel cf

4

0

1

0

0

0

.155

Totals35

6

9

6

2

6



Kansas CityAB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Jay dh

5

0

0

0

0

2

.235

Almonte cf

5

0

2

0

0

1

.263

Moustakas 3b

5

1

2

0

0

0

.309

Perez c

5

1

2

0

0

1

.231

Duda 1b

4

0

0

0

1

1

.221

Soler rf

3

1

2

2

1

1

.279

Gordon lf

3

0

0

0

0

0

.206

Goins 2b

4

0

2

0

0

0

.242

Escobar ss

4

0

1

1

0

0

.203

Totals38

3

11

3

2

6



Chicago

100

212

000

6

9

1

Kansas City

000

200

010

3

11

0

E: Anderson (5). LOB: Chicago 5, Kansas City 11. 2B: Almonte (1), Moustakas (6), Goins (2). HR: Moncada (6), off Junis; Castillo (3), off Junis; Davidson (6), off Junis; Thompson (2), off Junis; Davidson (7), off Junis; Soler (2), off Giolito. RBIs: Moncada (12), Castillo (6), Davidson 3 (15), Thompson (2), Soler 2 (4), Escobar (5). SB: Engel (3).

Runners left in scoring position: Chicago 2 (Anderson, Garcia); Kansas City 6 (Jay 2, Moustakas, Duda, Gordon, Goins). RISP: Chicago 1 for 5; Kansas City 2 for 15. Runners moved up: Escobar, Moustakas. GIDP: Anderson, Jay. DP: Chicago 1 (Anderson, Davidson); Kansas City 1 (Goins, Escobar, Duda).

Chicago

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Giolito W, 1-3

52/3

5

2

2

2

2

93

7.71

Avilan

1/3

1

0

0

0

0

9

5.14

Rondon

1

1

0

0

0

1

12

6.23

Jones

1

3

1

1

0

2

26

1.86

Soria S, 3

1

1

0

0

0

1

14

3.00

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Junis L, 3-2

52/3

6

6

6

2

5

99

3.34

Flynn

21/3

2

0

0

0

0

32

2.92

Herrera

1

1

0

0

0

1

11

0.00

Avilan pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

Hold: Avilan (3). Inherited runners-scored: Avilan 2-0, Rondon 1-0, Flynn 1-0. HBP: Flynn (Davidson), Jones (Gordon). WP: Junis 2.

Umpires: Home, Jerry Layne; First, Greg Gibson; Second, Vic Carapazza; Third, Jordan Baker. Time: 3:08. Att: 18,315.

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