KANSAS CITY — As if losing 3-of-4 games to a division rival isn’t bad enough, the White Sox had to do so in as painful of a fashion as you could on Thursday in Kansas City.

Looking to salvage a split against the Royals, the team managed to tie the game late, only to give it up in the ninth on a squeeze.

With the game even at three and a runner on third, Freddie Fermin laid down a bunt a few feet to the left of the plate. It was far enough away from pitcher Reynaldo Lopez that he couldn’t field it and throw home in time to prevent Nick Pratto from scoring the winning run.

The shortest of hits gave the host Royals not only a 4-3 win on a drizzly day at Kauffman Stadium but also a series win over their AL Central rivals. Meanwhile, the dreadful finish on a dreary afternoon only adds to a miserable start to the 2023 season that’s getting no better in May.

Thursday represented the fifth walk-off loss for the White Sox this season in just 39 games. They lost to the Twins in the tenth on April 11 in Minneapolis then dropped another ten-inning decision in the final inning to the Orioles four days later.

On April 21 and 22 in St. Petersburg, the White Sox were walked off in back-to-back games by the MLB-leading Rays.

These losses have been a part of a 13-26 start to the season for the club, one that has them 8 1/2 games out of first place in the AL Central in the early going.

In the eighth inning, it looked like the White Sox might be able to turn it around when Luis Robert Jr.’s two-out double brought home two runs to tie the game at three. But Lopez couldn’t hold it in the ninth, giving up a walk and a single before Fermin’s game-winning bunt.

That added another bad walk-off moment to a 2023 season where finishes like that have been all too common for the White Sox.