CHICAGO – It was a stretch in which the team had a chance to show the rest of the American League Central that they’re ready to defend their division championship.

Instead, three-straight series against AL Central opponents produced the worst stretch for the team in a few years.

The conclusion of these nine games were as painful as any other over the last week-and-a-half, as a chance to get a victory slipped away in extra innings against the Royals on Thursday afternoon.

The visitors struck for three runs with two outs in the top of the tenth inning and the White Sox couldn’t respond as they lost 5-2 and dropped the series to Kansas City two games to one. It drops Tony La Russa’s group to 7-11 on the season as they fall 3 1/2 games behind the Twins for first in the AL Central.

During this stretch against opponents in the division, the White Sox finished with a 1-9 record, with their only win coming against the Royals on Wednesday. Overall, the team has lost nine of their last ten games.

The White Sox had rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the later innings thanks to a homer in the sixth by Leury Garcia, his first of the season, and a sacrifice fly by AJ Pollock in the eighth. That forced extra innings, where things didn’t go the home team’s way.

The ending was especially painful as Aaron Bummer was able to a second out with a strikeout of Mike Witt Jr. with the bases loaded. But a pass ball on catcher Reese McGuire allowed a run to score and the runners to advance as the Royals took a 3-2 lead.

Kyle Isbel, who was at the plate when the pass call occurred, then singled to left to bring home two runs to make it 5-2. The White Sox wouldn’t have a response in the tenth as they lost the game and the series the close out a terrible stretch against division opponents.