CHICAGO — Whatever fastball command Kris Bubic lost in the third inning of Tuesday night’s game against the White Sox was found shortly after, when the Royals’ lefty retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced with seven strikeouts — all on his fastball.
It just wasn’t enough in the Royals’ 7-1 loss in the series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field, with a lackluster offense and a White Sox offensive eruption for a four-run seventh inning off the Kansas City bullpen.
The streakiness is back with the Royals’ offense. In their first 11 games out of the All-Star break, the Royals led the American League and ranked second in the Majors with a .337 average (29-for-86) in scoring situations.
Now, they’re 0-for-25 since Michael A. Taylor’s walk-off single in the 10th inning on Wednesday night. Hunter Dozier’s leadoff triple in the seventh inning was the Royals’ second hit of the night, and he scored on Ryan O’Hearn’s sacrifice fly to center.
Despite making White Sox starter Dylan Cease throw 103 pitches in six innings, the Royals struck out 11 times against the right-hander and managed just three hits in the game.
Bubic turned in another quality start, and he kept his team within range until the White Sox put up a four-run inning against relievers Kyle Zimmer and Richard Lovelady in the seventh.
With two outs in the second inning, Bubic threw a changeup over the plate, and Andrew Vaughn rocketed it a Stastcast-projected 441 feet to left-center field. After a leadoff walk in the third, Bubic left another changeup in the middle, which Tim Anderson smoked over the right-field wall. Then, Bubic walked Cesar Hernandez, who fouled the one fastball thrown in the zone and over the plate during the plate appearance.
But Bubic found another gear after that. He got two groundouts to end the third and went on a strikeout tear to match his career-high eight. His top 11 fastest pitches all came in the fourth inning or later, hitting 95 mph with his fastball on the pitch that has averaged 90 mph throughout this season.