KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The transformation from a victory to a puzzling 4-1 loss to Kansas City took six batters but seemed quicker to White Sox ace Mark Buehrle.
"I pitched well, and it seemed like in five seconds, we're down 4-1 and lose the game," Buehrle summed up Thursday night.
The final blow occurred when relay man Alexei Ramirez held the ball as he jogged several steps toward the infield. That enabled Mark Teahen to make a head-first slide and complete a two-out, two-run, inside-the-park home run for the Royals' insurance runs.
"A weird ballgame," manager Ozzie Guillen said after the Sox had their four-game winning streak snapped and their lead in the American League Central cut to 21/2 games over Minnesota.
It was bittersweet because Buehrle (6-8) saved a taxed bullpen with seven shutout innings but was supported only by Jermaine Dye's 434-foot home run in the fourth off Zack Greinke.
Buehrle's bad luck surfaced when he deflected David DeJesus' potential double-play grounder. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera fielded it and flipped to second for a force, but first baseman Paul Konerko couldn't handle Ramirez's relay and was charged with an error.
"It's a tough error," Konerko said. "But the play wasn't made, and that's that."
Mike Aviles knocked out Buehrle with an RBI double. With two out, Jose Guillen cranked a double over the head of center fielder Nick Swisher for the go-ahead run.
Teahen then ripped his extra-base hit off Boone Logan and kept running as Ramirez took Swisher's throw in shallow center field and jogged in before realizing Teahen was heading to the plate.
It came as little consolation that Buehrle wasn't charged with an earned run.
"We still got the loss," Buehrle said. "That's all that matters."
Guillen appreciated Buehrle saving a bullpen that "has been beat up a little bit."
The rest should help the Sox prepare for this weekend's series against Texas and its formidable offense.
Dye's homer snapped an 0-for-11 slump and further distanced himself from the attention surrounding his dugout spat Wednesday night with Orlando Cabrera.
"We're together for seven-plus months, and we become a family," Dye said just after learning he wasn't voted to the AL All-Star team before the game. "Every team has disputes. It's just a matter of good teams dealing with them and saying what we have to say and move on. We talked it out, made up."
Cabrera gave one-word answers confirming he was at peace with Dye and Guillen reassured everyone that problems wouldn't resurface.
"It was over [Wednesday] during the game, and two minutes after the game," Guillen said. "I talked to them and everything was cool. I talked to J.D. and he explained what's going on.
"I'm glad it wasn't a behind-the-scenes thing. I don't want to see J.D. talk to someone else about Cabby."