White Sox walked off, lose series to last-place Royals

Fermin’s squeeze bunt in ninth drops White Sox to within a game of last place.

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Freddy Fermin laid down a game-winning squeeze bunt against the White Sox.

Kansas City’s Freddy Fermin, center, celebrates after the Royals’ 4-3 win over the White Sox on Thursday.

Charlie Riedel/AP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Whenever things are bad, they can always get worse. The 13-26 White Sox should know that.

Urgently needing to take a series against the worst team in the American League Central and avoid falling further behind the division-leading Twins, the Sox lost 4-3 against the Royals on catcher Freddy Fermin’s squeeze bunt in front of Reynaldo Lopez, scoring Nick Pratto. The Royals took three of four in the series and are now within a game of the Sox in the standings.

On a wet and dreary afternoon that saw the start of the game delayed one hour, the Sox also lost catcher Yasmani Grandal, who exited in the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring.

Manager Pedro Grifol was not pleased, saying his team “got outplayed” and “lacked urgency” against the team he coached before getting hired in the offseason.

“Disappointed at times with lack of urgency? Absolutely, I am,” Grifol said. “That starts with me. So we gotta be better. We gotta be better as a staff. We gotta be better as a ballclub. We have to take advantage of situations like this.”

Mike Clevinger pitched six innings, allowing three runs and three hits. He walked two and struck out two.

Brady Singer, who entered with an 8.82 ERA, held the Sox to one run and five hits in six innings. Luis Robert Jr. hit a tying, two-run double in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman.

“Definitely a tough loss,” Robert said through a translator. “When you are behind and come back as we did, you’re hoping to get something going.”

But Lopez walked Pratto leading off the ninth, then gave up a one-out single to Matt Duffy before Fermin put down the winning bunt.

The Sox, who had won the last two series against the Twins and Reds, suffered their fourth walk-off loss of the season.

“We had some momentum coming in, and we got outplayed,” Grifol said.

NOTES: Liam Hendriks was scheduled to make his fourth relief appearance Thursday during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte. He’s on course to be reinstated as soon as Tuesday.

• Third baseman Yoan Moncada (back) is expected to come off the injured list for the game Friday against the Astros.

On Deck

ASTROS AT SOX

Friday: J.P. France (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Michael Kopech (1-3, 5.97), 7:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM.

Saturday: Brandon Bielak (0-1, 4.15) vs. Dylan Cease (2-2, 5.58), 6:15 p.m., Fox-32, 1000-AM.

Sunday: Hunter Brown (3-1, 3.23) vs. Lucas Giolito (2-2, 3.59), 1:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 1000-AM.

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