KANSAS CITY – The momentum that the White Sox seemed to gain late in the first half seems like a distant memory at the moment.
They’ve played five games since the All-Star break, and all five of them have been losses. There have been blowout and walk-off defeats, all of which have brought things a bit back down to earth in the third year of the rebuild for the franchise.
On Tuesday night, that happened with a thud.
Dylan Cease wasn’t as sharp in his second career outing. Eloy Jimenez was injured. They committed three errors in the field and had nothing to offer at the plate over the course of nine innings. All of these elements were part of an 11-0 loss to a struggling Royals team that leaves the White Sox as 0-5 to start the second half.
Cease allowed six runs in his six innings of work, four of which were earned, with his seven strikeouts compared to one walk ringing a bit hollow after a bad night overall. Meanwhile, Royals pitcher Glenn Sparkman, who came in with a 5.18 ERA, pitched his first career complete-game shutout as he held White Sox batters to just five hits as he struck out eight of them over nine innings.
Coming into the game, Sparkman had allowed 17 earned runs in his last three outings. Yet the White Sox couldn’t touch him.
To make matters worse, Jimenez left the game in the first winning after his arm collided with outfield Charlie Tilson going for a catch. Grabbing his arm in pain, the outfielder was immediately removed from the game.
That was on the Royals’ first at-bat of the night, which ended up an omen for a bad evening. Cease would allow an RBI single to Adalberto Mondesi then a run-scoring triple to Hunter Dozier to make it 2-0.
A throwing error by Leury Garcia in the third allowed another run to score, and that was followed by a Bubba Starling RBI single to make it 4-0. Whit Merrifield’s two-run inside-the-park homer in the fourth turned the game into a rout, though Cease would keep the Royals off the scoreboard in his final two innings.
Kansas City would strike for another run in the seventh and four in the eighth as Sparkman continued to work easily through the White Sox lineup. Jon Jay’s groundout in the ninth mercifully ended a miserable night on so many fronts for the visitors.