Gavin Sheets singled with one out in the ninth inning Monday against the Kansas City Royals. AJ Pollock pinch ran, representing the tying run for the Chicago White Sox.
He was quickly erased when Tim Anderson grounded into a game-ending double play.
The Sox had 10 hits but little to show for it in a 2-1 loss in front of 17,500 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“One run,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Credit the pitching. (Royals starter Daniel) Lynch, he shut us out earlier in the year. Good pitcher. Bullpen shut us down. Couple of balls hit hard.
“(Lynch) moves the ball around. He’s got a good, live fastball. Nice slider and a good changeup. I don’t know how many outs he got on his changeup, probably a half-dozen. Two strikes, 3-2 counts. That’s good pitching.”
The Sox wasted a solid outing from starter Michael Kopech and lost ground in the American League Central to the first-place Minnesota Twins and second-place Cleveland Guardians, who beat the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, respectively, in walk-off fashion. The Sox trail the Twins by three games and the Guardians by two.
Kopech kept the Sox in the game, allowing two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk in seven innings. He tied a career high for innings while throwing a career-high 100 pitches.
He allowed a 452-foot homer to Salvador Perez in the fourth and another solo homer to Whit Merrifield in the sixth.
“I was happy with how I threw,” Kopech said. “I got ahead of a lot more guys than I have been in the past. It gave me a chance to get deeper in the game, which is always a big goal for me.
“I made two — it’s tough to say mistakes because that ball Salvador hit was off the plate. But he obviously liked it. And the pitch to Merrifield backed up on me. Those are two good hitters and if I’m going to get those guys out, you’ve got to execute pitches. Other than that, I was happy with what I did.”
Kopech battled after waking up with a “tight back.”
“I tried to work it out in the weight room and in the training room before I got out there and it never really loosened up until a few pitches into every inning,” he said. “I was just trying to stay moving and not let it get stiff. But it didn’t really affect me. It was just bothersome.”
La Russa said Kopech was “outstanding” before adding: “Our offense just got shut down. Didn’t create enough opportunities.”
Lynch pitched six shutout innings against the Sox on April 26, allowing two hits while striking out seven. He struck out seven more Monday while allowing six hits in 5⅓ scoreless innings.
Andrew Vaughn led off the sixth with a double against Lynch. Trailing 2-0, the Sox had their Nos. 4, 5 and 6 batters due up.
José Abreu lined out to second, and after a pitching change Wyatt Mills got Eloy Jiménez and Yasmani Grandal to ground out to shortstop Maikel Garcia.
The Sox scored in the seventh on Sheets’ sacrifice fly to left to get within a run. They had one-out singles in the eighth and ninth but came up empty to fall back to .500 at 51-51.
Before the game, the Sox added to their bullpen by acquiring left-hander Jake Diekman from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for catcher Reese McGuire and a player to be named or cash considerations.
“I know that he can be very nasty,” La Russa said of Diekman. “He’ll help us. Reese has been a really great teammate and he’s going to a good position there with Boston, so he ends up on his feet.”
Sox closer Liam Hendriks played with Diekman in Oakland.
“He’s got one of the highest ceilings of any left-hander in the league,” Hendriks said. “His stuff is unreal. Not only that but he’s going to mesh really well in this clubhouse.
“Great dude. Good family. Excited to have him and he’s an add to our pen. Especially with that high-octane left-handed stuff and with everything he can throw up there, it just brings a different look to what we’ve got.”
The trade deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday, so the Sox have a few more hours to address any needs.
“I expect that (general manager) Rick (Hahn) is going to be trying,” La Russa said when asked if he expects more deals. “I don’t know what more to say. I know he’s trying.”