Big innings were the order of the day in a back-and-forth game, but ultimately the Royals lost to the White Sox, 11-8, on Friday night at Comiskey Park in Chicago.
The Royals took the lead in the first inning. Facing Chicago starter Ken Kravec, Hal McRae doubled with one out. Shortstop Alan Bannister committed a throwing error on an Amos Otis grounder. With two outs, John Mayberry blasted his 16th home run of the year for a 3-0 lead.
Royals starter Andy Hassler allowed four singles in the second but Chicago couldn’t score, thanks to two White Sox being thrown out on the bases in the inning. But the home team made up for it in the third. Jim Essian led off with a walk. Ralph Garr singled. With one out, Jorge Orta singled to drive in one run, and Richie Zisk doubled for two more. Reliever Steve Mingori took over, but Lamar Johnson singled, Jim Spencer hit a sacrifice fly, and Chet Lemon homered, giving the White Sox a 6-3 lead.
Then Kansas City took the lead again in the seventh. Brett led off with a double, and McRae singled to score Brett, while McRae took second on the throw home. Reliever Lerrin LaGrow replaced Kravec, only to issue walks to Otis and Al Cowens before being pulled in favor of Dave Hamilton. With one out, Joe Zdeb drew a walk to force in a run, but Buck Martinez lined into a double play to end the inning with the Royals ahead 8-6.
Royals reliever Mark Littell issued three walks in the sixth, although he kept Chicago from scoring. His control remained an issue in the seventh. He hit Oscar Gamble with a pitch to start the inning. Spencer singled and Lemon walked to load the bases. Patek booted Eric Soderholm’s grounder, allowing one run to score and keeping the bases full, still with no one out. Brian Downing greeted reliever Larry Gura with a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Garr singled to load the bases, and Bannister atoned for his error with a two-run single. Garr would be thrown out at home on a ground ball for the second out, and another grounder ended the inning, but Chicago now had a 10-8 lead.
Chicago added a run in the eighth, with Lemon doubling with two outs and scoring on a Downing single. But Hamilton didn’t need the extra cushion, as he got a double play to end the eighth and worked around a two-out double in the ninth to seal the win.
The loss dropped the Royals to 55-41. They fell to 4.5 games behind the White Sox in the AL West.
Box score and play-by-play: