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Royals batter Sox pitching
The White Sox returned from their road trip to the fourth-largest crowd of the season Monday night, 43,922. The crowd came looking for offense and it was treated to the same kind of power show that the Sox put on the last time they faced the Kansas City Royals.
Unfortunately the locals saw more offense from the visitors, who scored seven runs in the sixth inning and eased to a 13-9 victory.
Frank Thomas homered for his 2,000th career hit, and Joe Crede and Jose Valentin also hit mammoth shots, but they were undercut by poor Sox pitching.
"The 2,000th hit means nothing right now," Thomas said. "We just fell another game back of Kansas City."
Indeed, the Sox lost their third straight game to fall three games behind the Royals in the American League Central.
And the trend doesn't bode well for Tuesday. The last four times the Sox lost three straight, they also went on to lose a fourth before ending the run of defeats. With Esteban Loaiza and Bartolo Colon going in the next two games, "as long as we're swinging the bats well and catching the ball, we should have a chance," Sox manager Jerry Manuel said.
Sox pitching has allowed 31 runs over the last three games. In their last five losses, opposing teams have averaged more than 10 runs per game. The Royals needed just six innings to hit that mark. Kansas City scored three times in the fourth and sent 11 men to the plate, scoring seven, in the sixth.
The Sox led 2-0 after two innings, but starter Jon Garland could not make it stand up. Garland walked Carlos Beltran to open the fourth and gave up successive singles by Raul Ibanez and Desi Relaford to score one. Kansas City tied the score when Angel Berroa hit a sacrifice fly into the right-field corner to score Ibanez, and took the lead when Brent Mayne walked and Dee Brown lined a single to right for a 3-2 advantage.
The Sox struck back hard in the fifth with a double to left-center by Magglio Ordonez and a single by Carl Everett. Valentin lined a single to center to score Ordonez before Crede crushed a Runelvys Hernandez fastball into the first row of the seats in deep right-center, handing Garland back the lead.
But Garland gave up a single to Berroa on an 0-2 pitch to open the sixth, prompting Manuel to lift him. Garland's replacement, Scott Schoeneweis (2-2), retired none of the four batters he faced in giving the lead back to the Royals.
Schoeneweis gave up a walk, two singles and a bases-clearing double by Aaron Guiel that put Kansas City ahead 7-6, a lead it never lost.
"I didn't like the 0-2 hit [Garland] gave up," Manuel said, explaining his decision. "He has a tendency to let some people back in the game after he gets the lead. At that time I felt better going to a lefty with their lefty lineup."
Garland, visibility upset when he was removed, declined to comment after the game.
The Sox started to come back with two runs in their half of the sixth, capped by Thomas' home run. They drew to within one run with Valentin's drive into the right-field seats in the seventh, but three Kansas City runs in the top of the ninth were more than the Sox's bats could match.