Sometimes, there's just games that prove that it's not your year. This was one of them.
The Royals had two different leads against the American League's best pitcher, but they ultimately couldn't hold either one. Then, they tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, only to have their best active reliever blow it immediately in extras, thus eliminating a shot at the team's first three-game winning streak since June 19.
Paulo Orlando, who was inserted into the leadoff position before the game for the first time in his career, led off the evening with a double off of Chris Sale. In the next at-bat, Cheslor Cuthbert blooped a single into center field to score him, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead before an out was recorded. Chicago came back to tie the game on a groundout by Melky Cabrera in the third, knotting it at 1-1.
In the bottom of the third, Kansas City struck back when Cuthbert, Lorenzo Cain, and Eric Hosmer strung together consecutive hits to plate two more runs for the Royals. Hosmer was standing at third with one out, but the team was unable to score him, and stranding that run would wind up being pivotal.
Through three innings, the Royals were hitting the ball very well against Sale. Seven of the first 13 men to bat against Sale reached with a base hit. However, the stranding of Hosmer in the third would mark a crucial turning point in the evening, as the next time a Royal recorded a base hit, it was the ninth inning.
Chicago's big inning came in the fifth. With two out and none on, Edinson Volquez completely unraveled. Five straight Chicago singles brought the White Sox from down 3-1 to up 4-3, with Cabrera, Jose Abreu, and Justin Morneau, who is 76 years old, collecting the RBIs.
It was yet another massively disappointing performance from the man who was pegged as the Royals Opening Day starter. One year after anchoring the rotation of the World Series champions, he now sits in mid-August as a 5.03 ERA pitcher. He gave up 10 hits and four runs in his 6.0 innings of work, striking out just two White Sox all evening.
As for Sale, he settled in to toss a quality start, despite the fact that it seemed very unlikely early in the evening. He needed 115 pitches to get through seven innings, but he struck out seven and made pitches when he needed to. The onyl baserunner he allowed after the third was a two-out walk to Raul Mondesi in the seventh.
Matt Strahm continues to impress out of the Kansas City bullpen. He faced seven batters while handling the seventh and eighth innings, retiring six of them and striking out five. Joakim Soria worked a 1-2-3 ninth frame to keep the deficit at one.
Kansas City, having not had a hit since the third inning, looked doomed before Kendrys Morales led off the bottom of the ninth with an opposite-field single against David Robertson. Jarrod Dyson was called on as a pinch-runner, and he stole second base, but Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon made outs to push the Royals to their last chance. It was then when Alcides Escobar, demoted to the eighth spot in the batting order, lined a crisp single to left field, scoring Dyson and evening the score at four runs apiece.
Oh, but it didn't last! Because...of course it didn't. Kelvin Herrera, despite making good pitches, allowed hits to Abreu and Morneau before Todd Frazier and his Peyton Manning-like forehead crushed a three-run home run. 7-4, Chicago.
The Royals got a run back in the bottom of the 10th when Cutbhert launched a triple for his fourth hit of the night, and he scored on Cain's groundout.
Suddenly, after not scoring more than three runs in an MLB-record nine straight games, the Royals have scored at least four in three straight.
Kansas City is 53-59. Tomorrow, Jose Quintana will oppose Ian Kennedy. Yay.