Hector Noesi’s progress has been one of the highlights of the White Sox season. Claimed off waivers from Texas on April 25, the Sox have managed to get quality starts from a pitcher already on his third team of the year.
Unfortunately for them, the White Sox didn’t get another one Saturday. Not that he got much help from his teammates in their third straight loss.
Noesi went 3 2/3 innings and gave up eight hits and five runs (two earned) in the White Sox’s 9-1 loss to the streaking Kansas City Royals. Kansas City won its sixth straight and blew the game open in the fourth against Noesi (2-5), batting around and scoring five times with three unearned runs. Kansas City added a run in the eighth on a Mike Moustakas solo homer and three more in the ninth, including a Billy Butler two-run home run, to complete the rout.
For Noesi, the loss ended his personal two-game winning streak, and it was his shortest start for the White Sox since his first on April 30.
And for the White Sox, it was the continuation of the defensive problems that have plagued them since the start of last season. Leury Garcia’s fourth-inning error on a potential double-play grounder with the bases loaded was the White Sox’s 53rd of the season – the second-most in the American League – and Noesi also wasn’t helped by Dayan Viciedo’s inability to grab a high pop in the same inning.
The White Sox offense also didn’t do much against Danny Duffy (4-5), who went seven-plus scoreless innings and matched a career-high with nine strikeouts. Duffy and the Royals bullpen continued the offensive struggles that began for the Sox on Thursday against Max Scherzer and the Tigers, coming three outs from handing the White Sox their sixth shutout before Paul Konerko’s solo homer to start the ninth.
Starting with Scherzer’s complete-game shutout, the White Sox have scored three runs in their last 27 innings and fell three games behind second-place Kansas City in the American League Central.
Before Konerko’s home run, the closest the White Sox came to scoring was in the eighth when Adam Eaton was originally ruled to have beaten Nori Aoki’s throw home from right on a Viciedo single against Aaron Crow. But after a review that took 2:06, Eaton was called out.
That run might have helped but it wouldn’t have reversed the damage of the fourth, when Kansas City scored five times and batted around thanks to a little help from the White Sox defense.
Kansas City loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two singles, and took a 2-0 lead when Lorenzo Cain’s sharp grounder went through Garcia at third for an error. The Royals then added to it when Moustakas’ high pop fly to left fell in front of a lunging Viciedo, giving them a 3-0 edge.
Once again with the bases loaded, Aoki grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, allowing Cain to come in from third. On Noesi’s last pitch, Omar Infante’s grounder got through the left side of the White Sox infield, driving in Moustakas.
The White Sox had an opportunity to get back into the game against Duffy in the bottom of the inning. Paul Konerko singled and Moises Sierra doubled with two outs, but Tyler Flowers extended his hitless streak to 20 at-bats when he grounded to short to end the threat.
NOTE: The White Sox acquired minor-league outfielder Michael Taylor from Oakland in exchange for right-handed pitcher Jake Sanchez, who was at Class-A Kannapolis. Taylor was assigned to Triple-A Charlotte.