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KANSAS CITY- Despite all of their ups and downs, there is one thing that White Sox fans have begun to count on when their No. 1 pitcher takes the mound.

Dylan Cease day would usually produce a victory.

That’s because the starter has been one of the best in all of Major League Baseball the last two months, twice being named the American League’s Pitcher of the Month. In nine of his last ten starts, the White Sox have won, including the last five games Cease has thrown in.

But not even his efforts would be enough to save the team from a losing series against the Royals and a losing road trip as a sluggish season continues.

Despite six innings where he allowed just one run, the White Sox offense couldn’t capitalize on opportunities at Kauffman Stadium to get the pitcher another victory. Instead, the visitors stranded 11 runners and didn’t score till the eighth inning in a 5-3 loss to Kansas City.

The White Sox dropped 3-of-4 games to the Royals and finish their eight-game road trip at 3-5. Once again, the team is back to even on the year at 56-56 and now sit 3 1/2 games behind the Guardians for first in the American League Central.

With just three games left in their 19-contest stretch against teams under .500, Tony La Russa’s team is 8-8 and haven’t been able to pick up ground. They’ll host the Tigers for three games at Guaranteed Rate Field starting on Friday.

Cease allowed just one run on three hits over his six innings on the mound with eight strikeouts compared to just one walk. Only Vinnie Pasquantino’s second inning solo homer did much damage against the starter.

But Zack Greinke was able to hold the White Sox down as he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings and worked out of a few jams after surrendering nine hits. Meanwhile, the Royals got to the White Sox bullpen for two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth to build their advantage.

Yasmani Grandal’s two-run homer in the eighth inning and a solo shot by Andrew Vaughn in the ninth inning got the White Sox in range, but not enough to save the game, the series, the road trip, or another strong game by Cease.