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White Sox settle for series win, drop KC finale

Rondon yields go-ahead run in 8th as Chicago goes 3-2 vs. Royals
Special to MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Whenever a rebuilding ballclub can go on the road and win a series, it's a positive thing. But the White Sox had reason to feel a little greedy after taking the first three in a five-game series against the Royals.

On Sunday, there were visions of 4-of-5 dancing in their heads, but they came up a little short. Whit Merrifield's go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning off Bruce Rondon boosted Kansas City to a 5-4 victory in the series finale at Kauffman Stadium.

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KANSAS CITY -- Whenever a rebuilding ballclub can go on the road and win a series, it's a positive thing. But the White Sox had reason to feel a little greedy after taking the first three in a five-game series against the Royals.

On Sunday, there were visions of 4-of-5 dancing in their heads, but they came up a little short. Whit Merrifield's go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning off Bruce Rondon boosted Kansas City to a 5-4 victory in the series finale at Kauffman Stadium.

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So, bottom line, the White Sox had to settle for having a good series instead of a great one.

Besides Merrifield's late clutch hit, the White Sox can look back and grimace about a three-run swing of fortune in the fifth inning with Chris Volstad on the mound. With a runner at first and two out, Jorge Soler hit a soft liner to right field that Daniel Palka reached as he went into a slide. The ball was briefly in Palka's glove, but it trickled out. Had Palka been able to hang on, the White Sox would have gone to the sixth with a 2-1 lead.

Instead, Cheslor Cuthbert got to hit with two on and he promptly launched a three-run homer, his second of the game.

"I thought Palka did a nice job of trying to corral that ball in right," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Kind of kept the inning going there, and Cuthbert got a pitch and drove it out of the park."

Video: CWS@KC: Cuthbert crushes second home run of the game

Volstad did not feel the pitch to Cuthbert was a mistake by any means.

"It was down and in and he kind of dropped the barrel on it," Volstad said. "He hit it pretty high and I didn't know if it was going to get out. It barely did. You just have to tip your cap sometime."

Even after that frustrating sequence that put them in a 4-2 hole, the White Sox gave themselves a chance to win. They did so thanks to RBI hits by Leury Garcia and Nicky Delmonico and some fancy relief pitching by Luis Avilan when Chicago escaped a bases-loaded jam with none out in the seventh.

Video: CWS@KC: Garcia rips RBI triple to left-center

"When you are going through a rebuild, you have to understand there will be some struggles," shortstop Tim Anderson said. "But we're a new generation. We just have to continue to play hard and have fun."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Prior to Merrifield's winning hit in the eighth, Alcides Escobar reached second on a passed ball as Drew Butera squared around to sacrifice. White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez had to try and follow the ball as Butera moved his body into bunting position.

Video: CWS@KC: Escobar takes second on Rondon's passed ball

"You are blocked out," Renteria said. "Bruce throws very hard. If the body gets in the catcher's sight, it's pretty difficult to catch that ball."

SOUND SMART
The White Sox have won just two of their nine series this season -- both coming at Kauffman Stadium. They went 2-0 on their first trip here on March 29-31. The finale of that series was postponed and made up as part of Saturday's doubleheader.

Video: CWS@KC: Santiago snags a sharp comebacker

HE SAID IT
"I'll take all the spot starts or all the innings they want to give me." -- White Sox lefty Hector Santiago, who started for the first time this season after seven relief outings and allowed five hits and two runs in 4 2/3 innings

UP NEXT
Veteran right-hander James Shields (1-3, 6.14 ERA) will take the mound at 7:15 p.m. CT on Tuesday as the White Sox open a series against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Shields will be looking to build on a solid outing on Wednesday against the Mariners -- going six innings and allowing six hits and four runs in a 4-3 loss. The Cards will counter with right-hander Michael Wacha, who allowed just one run in six innings in his last outing against the Mets.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Chicago White Sox, Nicky Delmonico, Leury Garcia, Daniel Palka, Bruce Rondon, Hector Santiago, Chris Volstad