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Royals ready to reset after 'pen hit hard in loss

Mondesi stays hot, hits homer; Merrifield extends on-base streak to 16
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The Royals concluded their first half of the 2018 season with a 10-1 loss to the White Sox, though their rotation has shown improvement in recent days.

Five Kansas City relievers, putting together a bullpen day due to Ian Kennedy's oblique injury, combined to give up 10 runs to their American League Central rivals as the Royals dropped Sunday's rubber game at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Royals enter the All-Star break at 27-68.

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CHICAGO -- The Royals concluded their first half of the 2018 season with a 10-1 loss to the White Sox, though their rotation has shown improvement in recent days.

Five Kansas City relievers, putting together a bullpen day due to Ian Kennedy's oblique injury, combined to give up 10 runs to their American League Central rivals as the Royals dropped Sunday's rubber game at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Royals enter the All-Star break at 27-68.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's been tough," said Whit Merrifield, who extended his on-base streak to 16 games, of the first half. "Losing's tough, and we've lost a lot, so it hasn't been fun as far as all that goes. But we've got four days off, hopefully we can regroup, everyone can take a step back, reset, come back and have a good second half."

Video: Merrifield walks, extends streak

Burch Smith started on three days of rest and went two innings, giving up two runs, followed by a two-inning, two-run outing from Brian Flynn. Enny Romero gave up five runs in the fifth, and Jason Adam allowed another in the sixth. Glenn Sparkman, who pitched the seventh and eighth innings, was the only reliever to turn in a scoreless outing.

"Both [Smith] and Flynn were much better in their second inning," manager Ned Yost said. "I thought their stuff was good. It was just one of those days where we didn't pitch good. Sparkman did a nice job of getting six quick outs, but besides that, we weren't very good."

Adalberto Mondesi provided the Royals' only offense, clubbing his third home run of the year in the eighth inning off White Sox reliever Jeanmar Gomez. Mondesi finished 2-for-3, adding a double to go along with the homer.

Video: KC@CWS: Mondesi gets Royals on board with solo homer

"I'm feeling pretty good right now," Mondesi said. "I've been working with the coaches, trying new things, and the things are working. I'll just keep doing that."

"[Mondesi]'s understanding what it takes to be successful up here," Yost said. "He's doing his homework, he's understanding the computer programs, what to look for on the computer, so that he can formulate a gameplan. And he's going up there and trying to put the gameplan together -- he's doing a great job with it."

Mondesi has reached safely in seven of his last nine games, hitting .375 (18-for-48) with four doubles, two home runs and six RBIs in that span.

The Royals' rotation, which showed cracks recently with injuries to Kennedy and Jakob Junis, could be rounding back into shape after the break, however. Junis will come off the disabled list to start next Saturday vs. the Twins, and Kennedy is close to returning to baseball activities.

Danny Duffy's seven scoreless innings in Saturday's win also provide some optimism that Royals starters, who finish the first half last in the Majors in ERA, can rebound as the season progresses. Duffy owns a 2.73 ERA over his last 10 starts, striking out 58 batters in 55 2/3 innings.

"Duffy's throwing the ball really really well," Yost said. "Again, we got Kennedy hopefully coming back soon, we like what [Brad Keller]'s doing, and getting Junis back is gonna help."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Royals turned a slick double play in the third inning. With Yoan Moncada on first base, Yolmer Sanchez lined a ball to right fielder Jorge Bonifacio. Bonifacio was lined up perfectly for the catch and threw to first to double off Moncada, who had been running on the pitch. That helped prevent a run, as the White Sox would go on to score two in the inning thanks to a Leury Garcia two-run single.

Video: KC@CWS: Bonifaco makes grab, doubles up Moncada

HE SAID IT
"The frustration has really started to mount here the last two days. So just catch your breath and we'll see them on Friday ready to go." -- Yost, on what he'll tell the team before the All-Star break

UP NEXT
The Royals will have four days off for the All-Star Break before resuming play Friday against the Twins in Kansas City. Salvador Perez heads to Washington, D.C., to start his fifth-straight All-Star Game following Wilson Ramos's injury. Danny Duffy (5-8, 4.59 ERA) opens the second half at 7:15 p.m. CT vs. Minnesota. The Twins will send out Kyle Gibson.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Kansas City Royals