The Chicago White Sox fell 9-7 in Tuesday's series opener against the Kansas City Royals. Sox' manager Tony La Russa missed the game due to medical reasons and the team's on-field struggles persisted.
La Russa Out
The White Sox said the 77-year-old skipper was out on the recommendation of his doctors and would undergo further testing Wednesday. His absence was announced an hour before the first pitch. La Russa showed no signs of health issues during his pregame meeting with reporters and was pictured on the field with general manager Rick Hahn.
Bench coach Miguel Cairo took over as acting manager and the club lost for the 10th time in its last 12 games. The Pale Hose were a season-high five games over .500 and one game out of first place on Aug. 16.
“We’re going to find out (Wednesday) what is going on, and hopefully he’s going to be fine and he’s back (Wednesday) to do his duties,” Cairo said. “We are going to keep him in our thoughts and hopefully everything is fine.”
“It was weird,” White Sox' slugger Gavin Sheets said of La Russa’s sudden departure. “We didn’t have much of a heads up. I don’t know all the details. We’re obviously praying for him, praying for a full recovery.”
Royals Tee Off
Salvador Perez and Michael A. Taylor each homered and drove in three runs for Kansas City.
Nick Pratto hit solo home runs in each of his first two at-bats against Lucas Giolito, and his single off reliever Tanner Banks added two runs to the Royals' lead. Pratto hit a ground-rule double off Jake Diekman to score Ryan O’Hearn in the seventh.
Perez went 3-for-3 against Giolito, raising his career batting average against him to .419. Perez's two-run, opposite-field drive to right extended the Royals’ lead to 3-0 in the third, and his RBI single in the fifth made it 5-0.
Needless to say, Lucas Giolito had a rough outing in what has been a tough season for the 2019 All-Star. He finished with 5.1 innings pitched, allowed five runs on six hits, fanned seven, and walked two.
The White Sox tagged Royals' starter Brady Singer with four runs in the fifth, punctuated by a three-run homer from Gavin Sheets.
Eloy Jimenez added an RBI single in the inning and launched a solo homer in the seventh. Sheets belted a two-run homer in the ninth for his second career multi-homer game.
“We know there’s a sense of urgency,” Sheets said after the Chicago White Sox fell six games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. “This is the final sprint, 33 games left and we got to go.”
Luis Robert missed his fourth consecutive game due to lingering wrist discomfort.
Yoan Moncada fielded grounders before the game and is eligible to return from the injured list on Sept. 5.
Lefty reliever Aaron Bummer (lat strain) started a minor league rehab assignment and plans to return next week.
Garrett Crochet threw for the first time since having Tommy John surgery on April 5.
Yasmani Grandal is expected to be activated before Wednesday’s game.
What’s On Tap Next?
Kris Bubic will start for the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday opposite Lance Lynn, who will be activated from the bereavement list. The game will air on NBC Sports Chicago and Sox on Tap will have the postgame show.
Tune in to the Sox On Tap podcast for postgame reaction and further White Sox commentary all season.