White Sox fail to complete sweep; Royals win

Tribune staff reporter

After suffering a rain-soaked 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, the American League wild-card race is coming more into focus for the White Sox.

The Sox fell 8½ games behind AL Central leader Detroit with 56 games left after failing to solve unheralded Kansas City pitcher Luke Hudson and committing some untimely mistakes.

Without sluggers Paul Konerko and Jim Thome, each nursing injuries, the Sox were left short-handed in several areas.

That added to the misery of sitting through a 1-hour-46-minute rain delay with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning.

When play resumed, the Royals added two insurance runs to put the game out of reach.

In the process, the division title becomes a tougher goal for the Sox to attain even though they have 10 games left with the Tigers.

"Right now, we're still there," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But it's going to be hard for us."

Without Konerko and Thome, the Sox mustered only four hits in seven-plus innings off Hudson (4-3). And three of those hits came in consecutive at-bats in the fourth, allowing Hudson to coast through most of the game.

That left Sox starter Freddy Garcia (10-7) without a cushion, as Royals third basemen Mark Teahen hit a two-run home run off Garcia in the fifth and an RBI double during a two-run seventh.

"I feel fine," Garcia said. "I made a good pitch to [Teahen]. It was just fair. Nothing I can do about it. Then I hung a slider to Ryan Shealy (for an RBI single), and that was it.

"We didn't hit. Going into the seventh inning … 3-2 … and I gave up a few more runs. What can I say?"

The Sox closed the deficit to 5-3 on Juan Uribe's solo home run and mounted a threat on two-out singles by A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye as winds started to gust and the game-time temperature dropped 26 degrees to 72.

But the Sox's chances faded when Joe Crede, one of their hottest hitters, struck out against reliever Joel Peralta.

The Sox's defense also played a big role in the defeat. In the second, left fielder Scott Podsednik missed Reggie Sanders' hooking line drive for an error. After a walk to Shane Costa, Shealy hit a soft grounder toward first.

Garcia broke toward first as Ross Gload, starting his fifth consecutive game in place of Konerko, fielded the grounder. Garcia reached back in anticipation of a throw, but Gload held onto the ball and his throw arrived late at first to load the bases with no outs and left Garcia flustered as he swatted his glove.

Garcia induced John Buck to foul out, but the Royals took a 1-0 lead on Joey Gathright's sacrifice fly.

Uribe, who was criticized Tuesday by Guillen for playing lackadaisical defense, dropped a foul pop in the sixth. The Sox have committed two or more errors in 12 games.

Podsednik's error was his seventh of the season but his first miscue since June 9.

Despite the loss of Konerko and Thome, the Sox still depended on their power. Jermaine Dye cranked a two-run homer in the fourth, his 30th of the season. .


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