On Friday night, the Royals scored more runs than they had scored in their last six games combined. They did this against the best pitcher in the American League.
They still lost.
The Chicago White Sox slugged four home runs, two of which were by Alex Avila, who was hitting .213 with zero homers entering the game. Ian Kennedy had never given up four homers in one game before in his career. Of course that happens on the night when the offense finally decides to show up.
The losing streak is now eight, which matches the longest losing streak the Royals have had since April of 2012. Ned Yost shook up the lineup. The Royals scored five runs against Chris Sale. Their best pitcher couldn't keep the ball in the yard. What else could go wrong?
Eric Hosmer hit an opposite-field home run off Sale in the first to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead. Chicago scored three times in the bottom of the third when Jose Abreu hit a game-tying single, and Melky Cabrera smashed a two-run bomb to center field.
Hosmer hit his second homer of the game in the fourth, another opposite-field blast. It makes the third time in his career he's hit multiple home runs in the same game. Unfortunately, Brett Lawrie and Alex Avila went back-to-back in the bottom half of the inning to blow the lead back up to 5-2.
The home run derby continued in the sixth inning. Salvador Perez hit Kansas City's third home run of the game, another solo shot, to center field off of Sale. But of course, Alex freaking Avila, who was hitting .213 entering the game, hit his second home run of the game - and his season. The two-run bomb made the score 7-3.
Incredibly, the Royals have out-hit their opponents 36-34 over the last four games. They've lost all four.
Kansas City's best chance to get back into the game came in the seventh inning. Christian Colon singled. Whit Merrifield, who was moved into the leadoff position, doubled him to third. Then, Alcides Escobar came through with the Royals' first RBI hit with runners in scoring position since last Saturday with an RBI single to left. Sale was pulled, and when play resumed, Hosmer clubbed a sacrifice fly to score Merrifield and make the score 7-5.
Unfortunately for the Royals, the White Sox bullpen, which blew three straight games at Kauffman Stadium last month, was nails on Friday night. Robin Ventura's bullpen recorded the final nine outs of the game without incident.
Eric Hosmer became the first left-handed batter to hit a home run off of Chris Sale since 2012. So, that's cool, at least.
Ian Kennedy's ERA is now over 4.00. His strong start has been completely erased in terms of season-long statistics. After suffering through one of the worst starts of his career (5.2 innings, nine hits, seven runs, only one strikeout, and four home runs), his ERA is now 4.06. He took the loss; he is 4-5.
Sale's line, for his standards, wasn't good, either. He yielded 11 hits in his six innings of work. He gave up five runs and struck out eight. He needed 113 pitches to get through the evening, but he was rewarded with a win. He is 10-2.
David Robertson earned the save after pitching the ninth inning. It is his 15th of the year.
I don't have a whole lot else to add here. The Royals are back at .500 at 30-30.
Tomorrow: the last time the Royals ended an eight-game losing streak, the game didn't end until 3:14 am because of a bunch of crappy St. Louis Cardinals groundskeepers. Honestly, whatever it takes, Danny Duffy. Go beat Jose Quintana.