After a weekend sweep of the best team in baseball, this is not what the Chicago White Sox had envisioned.
Chicago (71-48) swept a three-game weekend series from Detroit and easily defeated the Royals 12-2 in the series opener Monday. The White Sox, though, have been outscored 14-6 in the last two games by the worst team in baseball.
Kansas City (43-78) won 10-4 on Wednesday, and has a chance to win three straight over Chicago for the first time since Sept. 20-25, 2003.
With the loss, the White Sox fell 6 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central, and have just a one-game lead in over Minnesota in the wild card race.
“We have to win every game because we are in a pennant race and we’re not ahead of it so we don’t have a luxury to lose games,” said Wednesday’s losing pitcher Jose Contreras.
Alex Cintron hit a grand slam in the ninth for the White Sox, who set a franchise record their ninth this season.
Buehrle (9-10, 4.87 ERA) is trying again for his first win in more than 2 1/2 months. The left-hander was 9-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 16 starts through June 27.
Since then, the three-time All-Star is 0-6 with a 8.93 ERA in his last nine starts, allowing at least five runs in six of those outings.
Buehrle did not receive a decision, but had an encouraging outing against Detroit on Saturday. He gave up three runs and seven hits, struck out a season-high seven and didn’t walk a batter over six innings of a 4-3 win.
“I just think the ball’s been landing my way the last couple games,” Buehrle said. “We’ve won two of my last three starts, so that’s a good sign.”
The White Sox also won Buehrle’s start over the Royals on Aug. 1. He gave up two runs and four hits in six innings of Chicago’s 7-5, 10-inning win.
Buehrle is 13-6 with a 3.23 ERA in 28 career games against Kansas City.
Odalis Perez (0-0, 5.40) still seeks his first win with the Royals.
Perez, acquired by Kansas City on July 25, is winless in his first three AL starts, and has not recorded a victory since May 14, while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The left-hander opened the season 3-0 with a 4.22 ERA in his first four starts, but is 0-3 with a 9.95 ERA in seven starts since.
Perez looked in control Saturday, though, pitching no-hit ball for 5 2-3 innings. He allowed two runs, two hits and three walks while striking out a season-high six over six innings but did not get a decision in a 5-4 loss to Cleveland in the opener of a doubleheader.
Perez is 0-1 with a 8.00 ERA in two career starts against the White Sox, and gave up two runs and three hits in four innings in the loss on Aug. 1.
Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek hit a three-run homer and finished with three hits and a season-high four runs on Wednesday, hours after agreeing to a $4 million, one-year contract extension.