White Sox 7, Royals 6
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ It’s taken two weeks for the Kansas City Royals to make history: Their 12-game losing streak is the longest in the 29-year history of the franchise.
With Frank Thomas homering for the third straight game, the Chicago White Sox held on for a 7-6 victory Sunday.
``In the downest of down times, people show their true colors,″ said manager Tony Muser, 0-4 since replacing the fired Bob Boone as manager Wednesday. ``We’re down. And I haven’t seen any bad colors.″
Kansas City rebounded from a 5-0 deficit but stranded 14 runners, leaving the bases loaded in the ninth. The Royals erased the previous record of 11 straight losses, set June 27-July 8, 1986, the year after Kansas City won the World Series.
``We didn’t expect this at all,″ said third baseman Bip Roberts, stranded in the ninth. ``That’s why it’s so dumbfounding. We get down, we come back. We get down, we come back. But we always lose.″
Albert Belle hit a three-run homer as the White Sox won their seventh in a row and swept a four-game series in Kauffman Stadium for the first time. Chicago won despite walking 10 and remained 2 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central.
Thomas, the AL’s batting leader, was 9-for-17 in the series, drove in three runs in each game and raised his average 10 points to .378.
``I’d have to say this was one of my better series in a while,″ he said. ``We’re playing good baseball right now.″
The Royals, who dropped to 36-50, haven’t won since beating Milwaukee 16-3 on June 27.
``That seems like a long, long time ago. But you look back over the streak, I don’t think you’ll find a single time when we’ve given up,″ said shortstop Jay Bell, who was 3-for-4. ``But we’ve played just well enough to lose.″
Muser was the Chicago Cubs’ hitting coach when they started this season 0-14.
``There were games in Chicago when they quit,″ he said of the Cubs. ``But these guys are busting their tails. Even with some confusion and a manager change and a couple of new coaches coming in, they come to win every day. I’ve got to manage better. Coaches got to coach better. Players have to play better. We’ve all got to take this personally.″
After Belle’s three-run homer put the White Sox ahead 5-0 in the third, the Royals rebounded for five in the bottom half. But Thomas, who had three-run homers on Friday and Saturday, hit a two-run drive off Jim Pittsley (2-7) for a 7-5 lead in the fourth.
Belle, with only one hit in his first 13 at-bats in the series, homered after an RBI single by Thomas. Chicago got its first run on Chris Snopek’s RBI single in the second.
Bell hit an RBI single to get the third-inning rally going for the Royals. With two outs, Chili Davis walked to load the bases and Jon Nunnally walked off James Baldwin.
Carlos Castillo (1-1) walked Mike Sweeney, making it 5-3, and Johnny Damon’s single tied it at 5. Castillo went 3 2-3 innings for his first major-league win, giving up four hits with two walks and one strikeout.
Sweeney’s RBI double in the seventh pulled the Royals within a run.
Roberto Hernandez loaded the bases in the ninth on Rod Myers’ one-out single and two-out walks to Scott Cooper and Roberts. Tom Goodwin then flied to shallow left, giving Hernandez his 23rd save in 27 chances and his third of the series.
Pittsley gave up seven runs and seven hits in four innings with four walks.
Notes: The 12-game slide is the longest in the majors since the Cubs started the season 0-14. ... The White Sox said third baseman Robin Ventura will start a rehabilitation assignment Monday at Triple-A Nashville. He sustained a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in a slide at home plate during an exhibition game March 21. ... Thomas and Belle have homered in the same game six times this season, and the White Sox are 4-2 in those games. ... The Royals are 0-14 against Cleveland and Chicago this year. ... Thomas holds the White Sox record with homers in five straight games. ... The seven straight wins matches Chicago’s longest winning streak this season. ... It was Thomas’ 33rd multihit game this year.