Five runs in the second inning were too much for the Royals to overcome, as they fell 7-4 to the White Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago.
Royals starter Dennis Leonard had a perfect first inning, but Chicago collected six straight hits in the second. Richie Zisk and Jim Spencer started the inning with singles, ahead of Oscar Gamble’s home run into the upper deck in right field. Chet Lemon followed with a single and a steal of second, then scored on an Eric Soderholm single. Jim Essian singled, advancing Soderholm to third. Leonard finally got an out, a groundout from Ralph Garr, but Soderhom scored on the play, upping Chicago’s lead to 5-0.
The Royals scratched out a run in the fifth against White Sox starter Chris Knapp. Freddie Patek led off with a single, then stole second. Groundouts from Frank White and Dave Nelson brought him around to score. Kansas City added a run the easy way in the sixth, as Darrell Porter homered with two outs.
But Chicago had an answer in the sixth with another string of hits. Lemon, Soderholm, and Essian all singled, producing one run and ending Leonard’s evening. Reliever Steve Mingori did a pretty good job of damage control, although he did walk Garr to load the bases. He then got a popup, a run-scoring groundout, and a line drive to center to end the inning with the Sox ahead, 7-2.
The Royals had one more rally, in the ninth. With Knapp still on the mound, Tom Poquette led off with a double and scored on Patek’s single. Patek stole second, but Knapp struck out the next two hitters. Hal McRae singled, scoring Patek and making the score 7-4. But White Sox reliever Lerrin LaGrow entered the game and retired Al Cowens on a grounder to finish it out.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 17-17. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 6.5 games behind first-place Minnesota.
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Today’s birthdays: Jim Sundberg (1951), Jaime Bluma (1972), Felix Martinez (1974), Joakim Soria (1984), Randy Rosario (1994)