There will be some ugly days during the rebuild.
Sunday was one of them for the White Sox.
Derek Holland struggled again, the bullpen couldn’t contain the Royals, and the defense didn’t help in a 14-6 loss to Kansas City. Other than Tim Anderson’s two-run homer in the fifth, it was the kind of long day the Sox can expect and will have to live through before the rebuild takes shape.
On Sunday, the Sox had a chance to win consecutive series for the first time since June 12-15 against Baltimore and June 16-18 at Toronto but fell behind early as Holland was ineffective. Entering Sunday, he was 1-5 with a 7.71 ERA over his last nine starts, and things got worse against the Royals. In his two innings, Holland was charged with seven runs while allowing seven hits.
Kansas City jumped in front in the second, batting around and scoring four times. The Royals’ first run came on a defensive miscue by the Sox, when Drew Butera singled to left but Leury Garcia’s throw back into the infield sailed over everybody, allowing Cheslor Cuthbert to score. After Holland struck out Whit Merrifield looking for the second out, Lorenzo Cain drove a two-run single to left to bring in two, then scored on a Melky Cabrera single to center.
Prior to the game, manager Rick Renteria praised the Sox’ recent defense.
“When pitchers are executing and working with a decent tempo, the infielders are always on their toes,” Renteria said. “Obviously we’ve seen a lot of nice plays made over the course of this last week. Our men are continuing to evolve as defensive players, as all-around players. I’m really happy with the way they’re progressing. But the tempo of the game is established by the pitcher, and the defense kind of takes their cue from him.”
Jorge Bonifacio continued Holland’s struggles in the third, homering to left to give Kansas City a 5-0 lead. Holland then gave up a double to Cheslor Cuthbert, thanks mostly to a bad route by Garcia in left, and walked Alcides Escobar before departing.
But that wasn’t the end of the trouble in the inning. Mike Pelfrey got Butera to fly out but allowed Whit Merrifield’s three-run homer to give the Royals an 8-0 lead.
In the fifth, Anderson hit a two-run homer to deep left-center off Jason Vargas and two batters later, Jose Abreu singled in Tyler Saladino to cut the Royals lead to 8-3. The Sox had five hits in the inning and two on with two out but Cain made a running one-handed catch on Nicky Delmonico’s drive to deep right-center to end the threat.
The Royals got the runs back and more in the sixth, adding four. Bonifacio had an RBI single, Cuthbert a sacrifice fly, and Merrifield had a two-run triple.
Avisail Garcia had a two-run double and Delmonico also had an RBI double in the seventh.
Kansas City continued to score in the eighth, getting runs on an Alex Gordon fielder’s choice and a Brad Goldberg wild pitch that brought in Escobar.
Delmonico almost added a two-run homer in the ninth but Gordon brought it back to end the game.
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