Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit a routine grounder to shortstop Tim Anderson, but first baseman José Abreu dropped the low throw and was charged with an error.
The fourth-inning miscue got the ball rolling on a two-run rally for the Royals.
That sums up how the last week has gone for the Chicago White Sox, who dropped their eighth straight in a 6-0 loss Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“You’ve got to hang in,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “There were a couple misplays here and there. Then we made a couple of great plays later to show we’re still playing. It shows you what we’re capable of.
“The biggest problem was not throwing the ball over the plate. Wind blowing in, there were some balls that weren’t going anywhere. We walked 11 guys. It was just a night where we didn’t have command, and their pitchers did.”
The Sox have struggled defensively and at the plate during the slide. Both issues popped up again in Tuesday’s series opener along with an inability to consistently throw strikes.
The Sox were blanked for the first time in 2022. They have scored three or fewer runs in 10 of their last 11 games.
Abreu and Anderson committed errors, giving the Sox a major-league-high 20 this season. They’ve committed an error in 15 of 16 games and nine straight, their longest streak of sloppiness since making an error in 10 consecutive games from June 24 to July 3, 2017.
The 11 walks were a season high and matched their most since Sept. 20, 2020, in Cincinnati.
That combination led to their first eight-game losing streak since June 14-22, 2018.
“I see it in the dugout, they’re getting upset when they should be upset,” La Russa said. “They’re trying to force things because they don’t like the way it’s going. They get frustrated when they don’t play as good as they should. All that’s part of it, the heart and the guts are intact. It’s not fun. It’s tough to take.
“I’m sure the fans are not happy, but neither is the club. Everything else about the way we’re going about it — the caring, the pressing — if you have talent like this and you have to get after guys to get started or they’re walking around smiling or not working, then you’ve got the wrong people. We’ve got the right people. So we’ll be all right. The sooner the better, though, because we’re not having any fun.”
Sox starter Dallas Keuchel allowed two unearned runs on two hits with five walks and two strikeouts in four-plus innings.
“Tonight it started with me,” Keuchel said. “I’d like to have a little bit better efficiency.”
Both unearned runs came in the fourth. Perez scored on an infield hit by Bobby Witt Jr. when third baseman Jake Burger couldn’t field the ball cleanly.
“I think out of peripheral I saw Witt pretty far down the line, and it probably was what caused the miscue a little bit,” Burger said. “I have to be better there. My only play there is at home plate with (Perez) running. Obviously a tough play, but I have to do better.”
Carlos Santana, who reached on a walk, scored on a grounder to first.
The Royals broke the game open with four runs in the sixth. The Sox surrendered three hits, including a two-run single by Santana, and walked four in the inning.
The wildness carried over from Sunday, when the Sox walked nine in a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins in 10 innings. The Sox have allowed at least nine walks in consecutive games for the first time since June 22-23, 1996, when they walked 10 Seattle Mariners the first day and nine the next day.
Meanwhile, the Sox once again couldn’t get much going offensively. They were limited to five hits, two by Burger, and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
Royals starter Daniel Lynch allowed two hits and struck out seven in six innings.
“We win and lose as a team,” Burger said. “All we can do is show up again (Wednesday) and get going. That’s the name of the game. There’s a reason why there’s 162 of them.”
The Sox are hitting .171 (12 for 70) with runners in scoring position during their last 13 games and have a .194 average (37 for 191) with runners on base this season.
“Stretches like this happen during the season, more often than not, even for clubs that finish in first place,” La Russa said. “I can test to that. The reality is it’s a real fine edge in the competition. It’s not like it’s real lopsided and you get a little funky and it’s fine. You get on the wrong side of it and it’s hard to win a game.
“I don’t question the talent, don’t question the caring. We just have to execute better. Not get frustrated and get away from the ABCs of what we have to do. And keep pulling together, as corny as it sounds — win together, lose together, never give in, never give up. All that stuff, that’s how you get through six months.
“Same thing if we were winning eight in a row right now. Start walking around like we got it made, the game will slap you. At this level it’s mostly between the ears. The ears, the heart, the guts. And we need to have some success to get it rolling. Like (Wednesday) afternoon.”