KANSAS CITY – The gap between the best in the American League and the best the White Sox can offer continued to be painfully obvious in the Kansas City Royals’ 3-2 victory Friday night.
The Sox sent John Danks, who can’t explain why but has mastered the Royals in his career, but even Danks wasn’t good enough to prevent the Royals from beating the Sox for the eighth time in 11 games.
Going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position against Edinson Volquez and the Royals bullpen ultimately cost the Sox, who lost for the sixth time in eight games to fall to 51-56 after that seven-game winning streak which provided temporary, if not false, hope of vying for a wild card berth.
The only good news coming out of this loss was that Adam Eaton, who left in the fourth inning after jamming his left shoulder after going to the ground after catching Ben Zobrist’s deep fly ball in the fourth, does not appear to be seriously injured.
“It’s something I’ve been dealing with,’’ said the left-handed Eaton, who originally hurt the shoulder on a dive in the outfield in Cleveland two weeks ago. “I’ve been able to manage it. It’s going to hurt when you land on it like I did.’’
This loss hurt because the Sox had opportunities against Volquez.
Alex Rios doubled in a run in the fifth, and after the Sox tied it on Jose Abreu’s RBI double, the Royals took the lead back against Danks on Lorenzo Cain’s RBI double and Eric Hosmer’s RBI single. The first four batters reached against Danks in the sixth.
The Sox wasted a leadoff double by Melky Cabrera in the second and a second-and-third, no-outs situation in the eighth after Tyler Flowers led off with a walk against Luke Hochevar and Trayce Thompson — Eaton’s replacement — doubled Flowers to third.
In the second, Adam LaRoche flew out to short left and Alexei Ramirez popped out to second baseman Omar Infante.
In the eighth, Tyler Saladino and Abreu struck out against Hochevar, and Cabrera flied out to right against Franklin Morales.
“We had plenty of opportunities,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They pitched tough in these situations and we didn’t get it done.”
LaRoche hit a solo homer, his 10th of the season, with one out in the ninth against Greg Holland to make it 3-2. The homer was the first for LaRoche in 174 plate appearances. It was the second homer allowed this year by Holland.
On the plus side, Thompson got his first major league hit, an infield single to go with the double to left, and showed some speed scoring from first on Abreu’s double.
Right-hander Nate Jones, making his first appearance since April 2014, returned from Tommy John surgery with a scoreless inning including two strikeouts and touching 100 mph on the scoreboard velocity gun.