KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Eric Hosmer hit an 0-2 pitch from Matt Thornton inside the third-base line to score pinch runner Jarrod Dyson from second in the ninth inning, and Kansas City Royals defeated the White Sox 4-3 on Thursday night.
The Sox had a chance to take a three-game lead on the Detroit Tigers, who lost to Oakland Thursday afternoon. The Sox led 3-0 but managed three hits in the final six innings. The Sox leave for Anaheim, Calif., after the game for a weekend series against the Angels.
Thornton entered the game to face Hosmer with two outs.
A night after they hit 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and popped out eight times against soft-tossing lefty Bruce Chen in a 3-0 loss with ace Chris Sale on the mound, the Sox cut the scoring tension on A.J. Pierzynski's a two-out RBI single in the first inning. It was the Sox' first earned run against Jeremy Guthrie in 24 innings this season.
In the second, the Sox cobbled together two unearned runs for a 3-0 lead on a walk to Johnson, an infield single by Alexei Ramirez, a throwing error by Guthrie on Gordon Beckham's sacrifice bunt and a 60-foot, RBI roller down the first base line by Dewayne Wise.
But the Sox offense went kaput after that, thanks in part to possibly giving away two runs on the bases. Cleanup man Alex Rios - who led off the third with a double -- was out easily at home trying to score from third on a pitch that squirted away from catcher Salvador Perez. An inning later. Perez picked off Alexei Ramirez (leadoff single) at third. In both cases, it was the second out of the inning, and had added significance when the Sox could manage three singles in the fourth through ninth innings.
Perez is nobody to mess with. He has five pickoffs this year and eight in his career, breaking Darrell Porter's club record in 1977-80.
What the Sox gave away on the bases they took back with their defense. Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano caught Eric Hosmer's bat-shattering grounder between his legs while facing second base, Wise made a running catch and crashed to the wall in left center on Gordon's drive and Beckham sprinted about 90 feet to make a sliding catch of Perez's foul near the tarp.
After Liriano sailed through the first four innings, he gave up a two-run, two-out triple to No. 9 hitter Johnny Giavotella in the fifth. When Gordon singled with one out in the sixth on Liriano's 84th pitch, Ventura brought in Nate Jones to face Billy Butler, who scored Gordon with a double off the center-field wall to tie it 3-3.