By Bob Dutton The Kansas City Star
CHICAGO — It’s as if the Kansas City Royals wanted to prove Monday night that their lack of run support for Zack Greinke isn’t personal. No runs again—until Scott Podsednik homered in the ninth inning.
Avoiding the shutout was about the only positive in this 5-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox in the opener of a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.
The flat-lining attack was only part of the problem.
Gil Meche fueled mounting concerns by offering up another disappointing effort. He gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings in falling to 0-3. It’s notable that his effort actually lowered his ERA to 9.89.
The result dropped the Royals, 10-16, into undisputed possession of last place in the American League Central Division and followed Greinke’s 1-0 loss Sunday at Tampa Bay.
The Royals succeeded in making Jake Peavy look like the guy who twice won the National League ERA crown while at San Diego. He entered the game at 0-2 with a 7.85 ERA before silencing the Royals on four hits in seven-plus shutout innings.
Peavy struck out nine and walked one before Matt Thornton worked a scoreless eighth. Scott Linebrink surrendered Podsednik’s leadoff homer in the ninth before closing out the victory.
Peavy rolled through the first eight Royals before Chris Getz drew a two-out walk in the third inning. The no-hitter lasted until Mitch Maier’s clean two-out single in the fifth.
The Royals didn’t mount a serious threat until two outs in the seventh when Alberto Callaspo singled and went to third on Jason Kendall’s double. Peavy stranded both runners by retiring Maier on a pop to short.
Meche’s problems started in the third when Alexei Ramirez led off the inning by hammering a hanging slider for a home run. Juan Pierre followed with an infield single before stealing second and scoring on Andruw Jones’ single through the right side.
Jones stole second and reached third on a throwing error by Jason Kendall, but Meche stiffened by retiring Paul Konerko and Mark Kotsay on grounders.
Chicago put the game away with a three-run fifth.
Ramirez led off with a single before Pierre hit into a fielder’s-choice force. After Pierre stole second, Meche walked Gordon Beckham. Jones followed with a sharp grounder that ate up Callaspo at third for an RBI double.
An intentional walk to Konerko loaded the bases, and Kotsay’s pop to short left positioned Meche to escape with just one run. Alex Rios wrecked that with a two-run single through the left side for a 5-0 lead.