Since Royals starter Bruce Chen had been roughed up badly in two of his last three starts against the White Sox, and was proving to be even more mediocre this season than he was last, the hope was that this 'Cy Chen' nonsense might have a permanent place in the past.
Alas, aches and pains took Alejandro De Aza and Kevin Youkilis out of the lineup, the the Sox offense did not respond well to having its head cut off.
Not since the innocent days of 2010 has anyone pined for a top of the order of Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez, and one would have to go about a half dozen parallel universes over to find a situation where starting Jordan Danks and Rey Olmedo is considered ideal. Yet both were in play Tuesday night, to generally middling results.
Chen didn't dominate his way through 6.2 innings with two runs allowed--he didn't crack 90 mph, and only struck out two. But with some empty spots in the order, dealing damage to the veteran lefty came down to just a few opportunities, which were largely missed.
Beckham took to his sudden switch to the leadoff role with full heart, hitting a solo homer for his second-straight game, and scoring the Sox only other run after a walk.
But A.J. Pierzynski's hot streak ended brutally--he went 0 for 2 with runners in scoring position, he was doubled off of second on an awful bunt to end any semblance of a rally in the 5th, made a bad throw to 2nd on a steal attempt by Alex Gordon (who would later score), and also had a wild pitch get past him in the 8th. It was a 1 for 7 night for White Sox hitters with runners in scoring position overall, so at least he had company at the disappointment party, but he was the host.
And at least Peavy was on the mound, who is at least used to the treatment. His general lack of sharpness came home to roost when the Royals bled him with five singles in the 7th, giving them a lead that a filthy 1.1 IP relief appearance by Kelvim Herrera would help stand up.
Royals 5, White Sox 2
Jake Peavy - 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR, 104 pitches - Hardly the dominant grit-fest he unleashed on the Twins last week, but certainly a quality outing.
Gordon Beckham - 1 for 3, HR, BB, 2 R - Apparently Gordon does well when he has a burning sense of purpose.
Alex Rios - 2 for 4, 2B, SB - All these hits for Alex, yet no one to knock him in.
Paul Konerko - 0 for 4, 2 K - Not the reassuring return to form against mediocre competition that most were looking for.
Quantity conquered quality in the 7th, as the Royals climbed that massive one-run lead the Sox had staked Peavy to. Five of the final six batters Peavy faced singled, two of them without leaving in the infield, and all of the without hitting the ball particularly hard.
Things Would Be Different If...
...The White Sox could do anything to stop Tony Abreu. The 27 year-old Quad-A infielder went 2 for 4 in his second MLB game of the season, including a crucial 7th inning single that dropped in front of Dayan Viciedo tie the game.
He saw seven pitches in four plate appearances.
The White Sox don't have much depth, and even a reduced-difficulty game becomes a tossup when two above-average hitters get snatched out of the lineup. As frustrating of a slog this night was, chalk it up to no more than bad timing that the effects of Youkilis' aging process and De Aza's season spent living as a rag doll flared up simultaneously.
Detroit closing the lead to a half game sure isn't fun, though.
Team Record: 60-49, .5 games up