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Another early knockout for White Sox lefty Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel allowed six runs in three-plus innings against the Royals.

AP Photos

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It wasn’t worth the wait.

After sitting through a two-hour, three-minute rain delay before the first pitch Friday, White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel had another dud of a start in a 7-2 loss to the Royals, Keuchel’s third in a row.

Fighting to earn his keep on the postseason roster, Keuchel put the Sox in an early 6-0 hole, giving up two runs in the second inning and four more in the third before getting pulled in the fourth after Hunter Dozier led off with a double. This rough outing came after Keuchel was lifted when he allowed six runs in one-plus innings against the Cubs last Friday and six runs and nine hits in five innings against the Rays in his start before that.

“I can’t remember a three-start stretch that has been this bad,” Keuchel said. “I’ve been in the lowest of lows and highest of highs and everywhere in between. I’m not the guy who gets hit around and makes excuses. I need to pitch better. I need to be more competitive.”

Five of the Royals’ six runs were earned — Gold Glove center fielder Luis Robert mishandled Adalberto Mondesi’s two-run single, allowing a third run to score on a play — as Keuchel’s ERA climbed to 5.22. Mondesi then got a huge lead off second and stole third base without a play.

Keuchel allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out one. He was replaced by Matt Foster.

“I felt good in the first, and it didn’t carry over to the second,” Keuchel said. “Just trying too hard, and it kind of backfired on me. I’m putting myself in holes I shouldn’t be in. It’s self-imposed.”

“Makes some good ones, then he misses,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He’s searching, and I know he’s not going to quit. He’ll keep fighting and figure it out. He’ll figure something out.

“The good thing about it is he’s a veteran. They’ve been studying it and keep working on it. You know what he’s capable of doing.”

Hernandez looks to expand comfort zone

While Cesar Hernandez has struggled to find a comfortable hitting stroke since joining the Sox, it has been helpful that his new teammates made him feel comfortable since the day he arrived before the trade deadline.

“There are a good group of guys here,” Hernandez said. “The Latinos have welcomed me in a good way, and the other guys have, too. I feel comfortable here. It has been easier than I was expecting.

“It’s good to be on a contender and to be part of that. This is a very good team, and the goal is to be in a position to win it all. That gives you extra motivation.”

The switch-hitting second baseman, acquired from the Indians for left-handed pitching prospect Konnor Pilkington on July 29, was batting .211/.295/.289 with three home runs in 30 games before Friday.

Hitting coach Frank Menechino said Hernandez is pressing. Hernandez said he is “making adjustments” to get back on track.

This and that

Yoan Moncada extended his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games with a single against Royals starter Carlos Hernandez in the third inning.

  • The start of the Royals’ half of the first inning was delayed while umpires checked with MLB to permit Keuchel to use the Sox’ own rosin bag.
  • Right-hander Ryan Burr was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to take Lucas Giolito’s spot on the active roster. Burr was 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA over two stints with the Sox in 2021.
  • Craig Kimbrel, unavailable Wednesday because of an undisclosed physical issue unrelated to his arm, according to La Russa, figured to be the ninth-inning choice in a close game. La Russa said “this is probably not a good day to push [closer Liam Hendriks],” who got five outs to earn his 31st save Wednesday.
  • The Blue Jays claimed Jake Lamb on waivers. Lamb was designated for assignment by the Sox on Wednesday.