All this and, in the end, just another loss.
The Royals saw their chance for a stunning comeback slip away Tuesday night in an 8-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox in 13 innings at Kauffman Stadium. Pinch-hitter Mark Grudzielanek grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.
That concluded a remarkable roller-coaster ride for both clubs.
The Royals blew a two-run lead in the eighth, then fell into a two-run hole in the 11th when Chicago scored twice on a sacrifice fly. The Royals extended the game by scoring twice with two outs in their 11th.
Doing so merely delayed the heartbreak.
The White Sox pushed across the winning run on Orlando Cabrera’s hit-and-run double against reliever Robinson Tejeda. Alexei Ramirez scored from first base.
Ramirez began with the rally by legging out a one-out single to deep short. It was Ramirez’s fourth hit, a career high. Cabrera followed with a line drive through the spot second baseman Mike Aviles vacated when Ramirez broke for second.
The Royals loaded the bases in their 13th against Nick Masset after Esteban German led off with a single for his fourth hit. Aviles’ one-out single was his fourth hit. Alex Gordon, who tied the game in the 11th with a two-out RBI double, worked a walk.
Manager Trey Hillman called on Grudzielanek to bat for Tony Pena, a .155 hitter. Grudzielanek is batting .313 but is also nursing a sore back. Still, he was the only remaining position player on the Royals’ bench.
Grudzielanek worked the count to 1-2 before hitting an easy bouncer up the middle. Cabrera made the routine catch, stepped on second and threw to first for the double play.
It was the second time this year that Chicago pinned an extra-inning loss on the Royals. The other time was June 4 when the Royals scored twice in the ninth before falling 6-4 in 15 innings.
The White Sox, 52-37, have won all four games between the two teams and now hold a 2½-game lead in the American League Central Division over second-place Minnesota. The Royals fell to 40-51 and 13 games back.
The teams combined for 33 hits, including 17 by the Royals. They needed one more, though.
The Royals extended the game by scoring twice with two outs in the 11th inning against Scott Linebrink. Aviles lined an RBI single before Gordon yanked a game-tying double over the head of right fielder Jermaine Dye.
That wiped out Chicago’s strange two-run burst, which began with one-out singles by Joe Crede and Alexei Ramirez against Horacio Ramirez.
The White Sox loaded the bases when German bobbled Cabrera’s slow grounder to second. German appeared distracted by Ramirez going to second.
Horacio Ramirez jumped ahead of A.J. Pierzynski 0-2 before Pierzynski ripped a drive into the right-center gap. Center fielder Joey Gathright ran down the ball but tumbled to the ground after brushing with right fielder Mark Teahen.
Two runners scored. Chicago led 7-5.
The Royals built leads of 4-1 and 5-3 before the White Sox pulled even with a two-run eighth against Ramon Ramirez and Ron Mahay. The giveback snatched a victory away from Kyle Davies, who scrambled through 5 2/3 innings but still handed a 4-3 lead to Ramon Ramirez.
Chicago starter Jose Contreras escaped with a no-decision despite allowing five runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Relievers Boone Logan, Octavio Dotel and Matt Thornton combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings before Linebrink coughed up two runs in the 11th.
Thornton was in position for a victory before the Royals rallied against Linebrink.
The Royals used Joakim Soria, their All-Star closer, in the ninth, and he worked a one-two-three inning. But he couldn’t go further after throwing 36 pitches Monday in a two-inning effort against Tampa Bay.