KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the beauties of baseball — and, OK, that might not be the best word to throw around Friday night at a nearly sold-out Kauffman Stadium — is you just never know.
Jeremy Guthrie has, since joining the Royals, owned Chicago like no one since Capone. And these White Sox, ranking last in the league in runs, have proven immensely ownable to more than a few pitchers.
So who saw this coming?
The White Sox pummeled Guthrie like an early Tyson victim in a 9-1 annihilation. After dispatching Guthrie in 2⅓ innings, they cuffed reliever Bruce Chen, who has also been something of a nemesis in recent years.
They also spray-painted the Shuttlecocks at the Nelson-Adkins Museum, pillaged the Truman Library and mocked our barbecue. Figuratively, anyway. Probably.
Yes, it was blowout.
And, really, those have been remarkably rare this season for the Royals, who have lost by more than five runs on only three previous occasions — and only one other time since late April.
It was also the White Sox’s biggest winning margin of the season. That it all came in front of a crowd of 33,830 — swelled by fireworks and a Buck Night promotion — made it particularly unfortunate.
Guthrie, 7-5, gave up six runs in his 2 ⅓ innings, which marked the shortest outing of the season by a Royals starter. (Wade Davis went 3 ⅔ innings on April 24 in a 7-5 loss in Detroit.)
It was bad from the start, too, when he walked Alejandro De Aza to start the game and then surrendered a double to Alexei Ramirez. Two more walks contributed to Chicago’s two-run inning.
The White Sox knocked out Guthrie in a five-run third that saw Chen yield a three-run homer to Dayan Viciedo after entering with two on and one out. Chen also allowed a two-run homer to De Aza in the sixth that made it 9-0.
Chicago lefty Hector Santiago, 3-5, didn’t waste the support in winning for just the second time since May 2. He yielded just one run and three hits in a career-high eight innings before Addison Reed pitched the ninth.
For all that, the Royals one run was, potentially, significant.
Eric Hosmer crushed a 414-foot homer to right field with two outs in the sixth inning. It was just the sort of pull power the Royals have been seeking from Hosmer since the season started.
Everything else is pretty much best forgotten.
The Royals, 34-37, suffered their third straight loss since climbing back to .500 earlier in the week. Chicago, 30-41, won for only the second time in nine games.
Opponents have scored 19 runs over the last three games; the Royals permitted just 34 while opening June with a 12-4 run.
Perhaps it was the law of averages evening out.
If so, it was a harsh law for Guthrie, who had permitted just two earned runs over 44 ⅔ innings against the White Sox in six previous starts since joining the Royals in a July 20, 2012 trade from Colorado.
Chicago matched that in the first inning despite a major base-running mistake by De Aza, who opened the game by working a nine-pitch walk before going to third when Ramirez flicked a double past third.
But De Aza broke for the plate on Alex Rios’ routine grounder to third — and was an easy out at the plate. That provided a chance for Guthrie to escape unharmed, but his command betrayed him.
Successive walks to Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko forced in a run. The walk to Konerko came after Guthrie jumped ahead 1-2 in the count. Conor Gillaspie’s sacrifice fly to deep right made it 2-0.
The Royals got a one-out double in the first from Hosmer but wasted it when Salvy Perez grounded to short and Billy Butler grounded out to first.
The White Sox knocked out Guthrie in the third, which Ramirez started with a single. Rios followed with an RBI double over the head of left fielder Alex Gordon.
Dunn’s single into left-center field made it 4-0. When Gillaspie’s one-out single move Dunn to third, manager Ned Yost had seen enough. Out came Guthrie; in came Chen.
Viciedo hit Chen’s second pitch out of the park to left-center for a three-run homer and a 7-0 lead.