April power has turned May sour for the Royals.
The Royals owned baseball’s best record for several days in the season’s first month. With Friday’s 3-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox, they’ve now dropped six straight.
An encouraging start by Brad Keller was wasted when Royals not named Salvador Perez could do little against White Sox starter Carlos Rodon.
The White Sox lefty who tossed a no-hitter against the Indians in his second start this season, dazzled with six scoreless innings. He surrendered five singles and allowed no more than two Royals to reach in any inning. He recorded eight of the 13 strikeouts of Royals hitters.
Three White Sox relievers finished the second shutout in two days of the Royals, who have pushed their scoreless streak to 22 innings..
Only Perez had Rodon figured out. Perez collected singles in each of his first three plate appearances. Rodon hadn’t given up more than three hits in any of his four previous starts..
Perez added a double to lead off the ninth, recording his second four-hit game this season. Jorge Soler then reached on catcher’s interference giving the Royals life. But reliever Liam Hendriks struck out Hunter Dozier and pinch-hitter Ryan O’Hearn before Michael A. Taylor’s grounder up the middle went for an infield hit.
That brought up Nicky Lopez. Bases loaded. Two outs. Lopez entered the plate appearance 1 for his previous 27. He popped to short center field — shortstop Tim Anderson made the catch —to end the game.
Keller was sharp early and that’s progress. He struck out the side in the first and retired 13 of the first 14. In his first six starts this season, Keller had surrendered 23 runs and owned an ERA of 8.28 in the first three innings.
But the first hit he surrendered on Friday left the park. Zack Collins drove a 1-2 pitch over the center-field wall, 430 feet, for the game’s first run.
The White Sox added two in the sixth when Adam Eaton broke an 0-for-20 slump with an RBI single and Jose Abreu followed with a double in the gap..
Keller finished the sixth as Dozier, playing right field, made a nice sliding catch of Yermin Mercedes’ drive in the corner.
The Royals couldn’t battle back against the team that’s tormented them for two years. Against everyone else the Royals are 40-38 in 2020 and 2021. Against the White Sox, 2-11.
In his second major-league start, Daniel Lynch will attempt to stop the skid on Saturday.
Earlier this week, Lynch went 4 2/3 innings, leaving the game with the Royals leading 3-1. By the time the fifth inning ended, the game was 3-3 and Cleveland went on to win 8-6.
“When you get to a new level, you’re not used to pitching at that level,” Lynch said. “So you do things a little differently. I’ll just try to pitch my game and believe in what I do.”
Lynch is scheduled to oppose Lance Lynn in Saturday’s game with a first pitch set for 6:10 p.m.