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updated: 6/15/2014 8:51 PM

Sox get swept by Royals

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  • The White Sox's Adam Dunn was 1-for-9 with 5 strikeouts in the three-game series sweep by the Royals this weekend at U.S. Cellular Field.

      The White Sox's Adam Dunn was 1-for-9 with 5 strikeouts in the three-game series sweep by the Royals this weekend at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

On Wednesday night, the White Sox pounded Justin Verlander and Detroit, pulling within 2½ games of the first-place Tigers.

Doesn't that seem like a month or two ago?

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The Sox were shut down the following night by Detroit ace Max Scherzer, and were promptly swept by the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field over the weekend, capped by Sunday's 6-3 loss in front of 29,152.

And just like that, the White Sox (33-37) are 4 games under .500 for the first time all season, and the four-game losing streak has dropped them into last place in the AL Central, 5½ games behind the Tigers.

And just like 2013, the Sox' lack of hitting and shaky defense -- coupled with poor outings from starters Jose Quintana, Hector Noesi and Andre Rienzo against Kansas City -- is rekindling some unpleasant memories of last year.

The Sox are off Monday before opening a two-game series against a very good San Francisco Giants team. The sox need to regroup in a hurry.

"It's three games," said Adam Dunn, who was 1-for-9 with 5 strikeouts against the Royals. "Before these three games, people were talking all kind of stuff. You're going to lose games and you're going to win games. We had a good series before it and a bad one this time. We got an off day tomorrow so hopefully come back Tuesday and go get 'em.

"We just need to figure out a way to play better. I mean, they pitched; they shut us down. That's kind of the moral of this series is they pitched really good."

Give credit to K.C. starters Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy and James Shields, Sunday's starter. Unlike Quintana, Noesi and Riezno, the Royals' trio limited the White Sox to 5 earned runs in 18⅔ innings.

"We put it on all cylinders this series," Shields said after the Royals beat the White Sox at the Cell for the 10th time in 11 games, dating back to last year. "We pitched, we hit, we played some good defense. We drew our walks. We had good situational hitting and good timely hitting. I think this is the first series all year that we really hit on all cylinders, so it's really nice to see."

The Sox did manage to score 3 runs on 10 hits in six innings against Shields (8-3), the Royals' ace.

But in another rough outing, Rienzo (4-4) allowed 6 runs on 6 hits, 4 walks and a hit batter in 6 innings. The right-hander has lost his last 4 starts.

Rienzo has been hanging curveballs and watching them fly over the fence during his losing streak, and Eric Hosmer's 2-run homer in the first inning and Salvador Perez's 3-run shot in the third put the White Sox in another early hole.

"The two homers killed me today," Rienzo said. "I make mistakes and the guys enjoy that. But after that, I think I did well after the two homers. But they already hurt me, hurt the team."

Maybe Rienzo flips spots with long reliever Scott Carroll. With Erik Johnson still struggling at Class AAA Charlotte, the White Sox don't have any viable replacement starters in the minor leagues, so Rienzo appears to be staying in the rotation.

"Right now, we're going to keep going with it," manager Robin Ventura said. "We'll reassess that, but he's just got to pitch better. That would help, too."

The Sox weren't making any brash predictions after looking like a team on the rise against the Tigers last week. Conversely, they aren't ready to pack it in after taking another beating on Sunday.

"I don't think it's a lack of effort," Gordon Beckham said. "I don't think it's a lack of wanting it. Sometimes baseball goes in this up and down cycle. We obviously felt good at the beginning of this homestand and have struggled since. That will bounce back too, I think.

"I'm not worried about the team. I think we are doing some good things. I think we've just got to get a little bit better in terms of pitching and a little bit better in terms of hitting. If we can put those things together, we can really make a run."

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