White Sox fall to Royals, drop to 6-12 against AL Central

The Sox’ sputtering offense had 10 hits but went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

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Lucas Giolito pitched five innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts Wednesday night in Kansas City.

Lucas Giolito pitches against the Royals Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Central command?

How about Central outmanned. Especially at the plate.

With a 6-2 loss to the 14-22 Royals on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium, the White Sox fell to 6-12 against the American League Central, dropping below .500 with their second consecutive defeat that evened up a lengthy five-game series that concludes Thursday afternoon.

That’s hardly a path to a division title the Sox were heavily favored to win.

The Sox had 10 hits, nine of them singles, and were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position. They have scored three or fewer runs in five of their last six games.

“We have to get out of this rut offensively, and we’re going to work on it hitter by hitter,” said manager Tony La Russa, who met with hitting coach Frank Menechino and assistant hitting coach Howie Clark after the game.

“It changes. Sometimes you’re too aggressive, sometimes you’re too passive, sometimes you’re in between.”

Six of the nine batters in the lineup finished the night with averages at .220 or lower.

“It’s tough, and this is no excuse, it’s not acceptable, but there are some batting averages that reflect some issues,” La Russa said. “The answer is no easy answer. Our coaches know our hitters; our hitters know our hitters. We’ll chip away at it.”

In his first start after coming back from a bout with COVID-19, Lucas Giolito pitched five innings of two-run ball, striking out seven. After allowing a leadoff homer to Bobby Witt Jr. in the third inning, Giolito struck out six of seven batters, retired eight of the last 10 batters he faced and left in a 2-2 tie.

Against Reynaldo Lopez in the sixth, the Royals got an RBI triple from Emmanuel Rivera past a diving Adam Engel in right and a sacrifice fly by Kyle Isbel to make it 4-2. MJ Melendez hit his second homer of the series, a two-run shot against Ryan Burr, to make it 6-2.

Tim Anderson’s RBI single against Royals starter Zack Greinke had tied the game in the fifth.

Abreu searching for a groove

With four hits, including a double Wednesday, three walks and no strikeouts in the series, Jose Abreu hoped to get his season jump-started after a subpar month and a half.

“I wasn’t planning on having that slow start, but those things happen,” Abreu said. “I’ve been working hard. I never put my head down. I’m just trying to get results.”

Eloy still building

More than three weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn hamstring tendon, Eloy Jimenez might be about two weeks away from a rehab stint.

“The biggest issue is the strength of that hamstring,” La Russa said. “They’re not convinced that it’s built up enough for every-day play.”

This and that

Michael Kopech (paternity list) will pitch Saturday in New York if his baby is born in time, La Russa said, and Johnny Cueto will pitch Sunday with Dylan Cease getting extra rest. If not, Cueto will pitch Saturday and Cease on Sunday.

Lance Lynn, who went through fielding drills, was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Lynn, who has been on the injured list since April 4 after surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right knee suffered during spring training, is eligible to be reinstated from the IL on June 6.

† After pitching five innings of one-run ball in a spot start Tuesday, right-hander Davis Martin was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

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