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Skid hits nine as White Sox falter late in 5-4 loss to Royals

White Sox starter Derek Holland allowed three runs on four hits — three of them home runs — in 4 2/3 innings against the Royals Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. The Sox lost, 5-4. (Brian Davidson/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The White Sox know they’re going to pay a price for rebuilding, but it was never as evident as it was Sunday.

Without Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson to protect a one-run lead in the late innings, the Sox allowed the Royals to score the tying run in the eighth against Dan Jennings and the winning run in the ninth against Gregory Infante and Tyler Clippard in a 5-4 loss. The Sox have lost nine consecutive games and 12 of their last 13.

After striking out the side to protect a 4-3 lead in the seventh, Jennings gave up a home run to Whit Merrifield leading off the eighth. Infante allowed a single to Mike Moustakas and hit Alcides Escobar with a pitch in the ninth before Brandon Moss doubled against Clippard to win it.

The Sox were 32-1 when leading after the seventh before Kahnle and Robertson were traded to the Yankees. Anthony Swarzak was the only reliever to get away unscathed. He allowed one hit in 1„ scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 2.30.

‘‘They did as good a job as I could have asked them to do today,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘All in all, we didn’t play a very bad ballgame.’’

After Merrifield, Jorge Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer hit consecutive homers against Sox starter Derek Holland to give the Royals a 3-0 lead in the fourth, the Sox responded with four runs in the fifth — highlighted by a three-run double by Adam Engel — to take a 4-3 lead.

Outfielder Melky Cabrera left the game with a bruised left foot in the fifth. He fouled a pitch off the foot in the first.

‘‘He should be fine,’’ Renteria said.

Moncada update

Rookie Yoan Moncada went 0-for-4, including his first strikeout in four games with the Sox in the second. He hit the ball harder each time up after that, grounding out three times. Moncada is 1-for-13 (.077) since being called up Wednesday from Class AAA Charlotte.

‘Mental break’ for Anderson

Shortstop Tim Anderson, who is hitting .197 (12-for-61) in his last 17 games to drop his average to .243, didn’t play for the second consecutive game.

‘‘Little mental break,’’ said Renteria, who spoke with Anderson at length in his office before the game. ‘‘I think he’s in as good a place as he can be right now. Maybe these two days [off] are going to be good for him.’’

Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

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