CHICAGO | History has been a sore subject for the Royals in recent years. This was a first, though. A miserable low point in a season quickly heading south.
Joel Peralta and Robinson Tejeda combined Thursday afternoon in allowing homers to four straight batters in a 9-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
How rare is that?
Not only have the Royals never permitted such an assault in their 40-year history. The White Sox have never accomplished it in their 108-year history.
And that’s saying something — if only because the White Sox have spent the current millennium tattooing Royals pitchers: 241 homers now in 158 games since the start of the 2000 season.
The Chicago blitz turned a close game into a blowout, completed a three-game sweep and sent the Royals to their seventh loss in eight games.
The Royals trailed just 3-2 when Peralta relieved starter Kyle Davies to start the sixth inning. Peralta had yielded 10 homers this season in 44 innings but entered on a roll: Just one in his last 17 1 /3 innings over eight appearances.
Peralta retired the first hitter before issuing successive walks to Ken Griffey Jr. and Carlos Quentin. Jermaine Dye popped out before the long-ball binge started.
All with two outs.
Jim Thome mashed a 3-1 split-finger fastball over the right-field wall. That pushed the lead to 6-2.
Paul Konerko hit the next pitch over the left-field wall. Peralta jumped ahead 1-2 on Alexei Ramirez before serving up another homer.
In came Tejeda, who worked the count to 1-2 on Juan Uribe before yielding still another homer. Tejeda finally halted the string by striking out Toby Hall for the final out of the inning.
Four homers by consecutive players have only happened five previous times in big-league history. The most recent was April 22, 2007, when the Red Sox did it to Yankees pitcher Chase Wright at Fenway Park.
The Boston quartet was Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek. The Red Sox needed them all, too, for a 7-6 victory.
That wasn’t the case for the White Sox against the Royals. This was mere punctuation, emphatic as it was, in Chicago’s three-game sweep by a combined 22-2 margin.
The victory enabled the White Sox to stretch their lead in the American League Central Division to one full game over second-place Minnesota. The Royals fell to 54-67, which matches their 2007 record through 121 games.
And before the deluge?
White Sox rookie Lance Broadway, 1-0, lasted 5 1/3 innings in his second big-league start after being recalled Sunday from Class AAA Charlotte to replace injured José Contreras.
Broadway was beatable. He wobbled through the first inning, aided by a suspect decision by José Guillen to attempt a delayed steal.
But the Royals let him off the hook.
Broadway threw 100 pitches before exiting after he struck out Billy Butler to open the sixth inning. Broadway’s only previous big-league start was Sept. 27, 2007, here, when he threw six shutout innings in a 10-0 victory over, yes, the Royals.
Davies, 5-4, again succumbed to a rising pitch count. He scrambled through five innings on 100 pitches. He struck out a season-high seven and stranded nine runners.
In short, he permitted just enough damage to turn a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit.
The White Sox got 3 2/3 shutout innings from Horacio Ramirez, D.J. Carrasco and Adam Russell once Broadway departed.
Positives? Not much.
The Royals didn’t get shut out for a third straight game. And they didn’t drop any pop-ups, although José Guillen and Mitch Maier brushed one another in chasing after Jermaine Dye’s fly ball in the fourth.
The Royals scored twice in the first inning. Maier led off with a single and raced to third when Mike Aviles grounded a double past first baseman Paul Konerko.
Broadway retired Mark Teahen on a pop to short, but Guillen pushed a two-run single up the middle. A walk to Billy Butler put runners at first and second before Guillen’s attempt at a delayed steal resulted in an out. Guillen protested the call, but Broadway’s throw appeared to arrive first.
Davies started smartly with successive strikeouts before running into two-out trouble in the first after hitting Carlos Quentin — the sixth straight game in which Quentin has been hit by a pitch.
A double and a walk loaded the bases before Davies stranded all three runners when Konerko popped out.
It was a temporary reprieve.
The White Sox bunched five hits in a three-run second for a 3-2 lead. Uribe started a binge of four straight one-out singles. Uribe went to third on Hall’s single and scored on Orlando Cabrera’s single.
Griffey’s bloop to left loaded the bases. Quentin struck out, but Dye lined a two-run double off the left-field wall.