Recap: Royals rack up 3 HRs but come up short in comeback
Every run in game comes via homer as Royals lose narrowly to White Sox
By ASSOCIATED PRESSFS Kansas City
CHICAGO (AP) Despite the loss, manager Ned Yost was happy with the effort of the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals fell behind 4-0, but rallied within a run, before falling 6-5 to the Chicago White Sox Saturday.
"You just keep battling," Yost said. "Just keep pushing it. That's what our guys do so well."
Kansas City had the tying run on second in the ninth with two outs, when Emilio Bonifacio struck out.
"We had a chance to at least tie it up there," Yost said. "Gordie (Alex Gordon) worked a big (two out) walk and Getzie (Chris Getz running for Gordon) had a big stolen base.
"I felt if we could get Hoss (Eric Hosmer on deck) to the plate, something special was going to happen."
White Sox starter Erik Johnson retired 13 of the first 14 Royals.
But Mike Moustakas hit a solo home run in the fifth and Billy Butler had a two-run shot in the sixth, to get Kansas City within 4-3.
"This park is usually a good park to hit in," Butler said. "You hit the ball in the air and you hit it good, it's going out."
But it was the home runs that hurt starting pitcher Yordano Ventura, who gave up three of them.
"If you leave the ball up, it's going to go," Ventura said through a translator.
"It was warm and kind of humid out there and the ball was really flying," Yost said.
The White Sox avoided 100 losses with the win, but the team announced after the game that hitting coach Jeff Manto was fired.
"Obviously, this has been a very disappointing season and one of the main areas of disappointment has been our offensive performance," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said.
"We're at the bottom of several important categories, most importantly runs scored, walks and on-base percentage. It's our belief that the best way to continue to address some of those issues is to get a new voice in here to work with our hitters.
"We had a conversation with Jeff and we allowed him to choose whether he finished the season and had this announced on Monday. Jeff decided it was best for him to leave at the start of tonight's game."
Manager Robin Ventura said he fought for Manto to stay, but the decision to make the change wasn't his.
"As bad as this season has been, I don't want anyone to point the finger at him," Ventura said of Manto. "Having played and having the same thing as a player, there's responsibility all over the place."
The White Sox were a more potent offense on Saturday.
Adam Dunn and Conor Gillaspie each hit two-run shots and Marcus Semien and Jordan Danks each added solo homers.
"Looking at last year, we hit a lot of home runs," Ventura said. "I think at periods we won more games because we got runs faster. Tonight was one of those nights. It was instant, for both teams. There was no manufacturing of runs. Last year, we had it. This year, we didn't have it as much."
NOTES: Assistant hitting coach Harold Baines will handle Manto's job in Sunday's season finale. Manto worked two years as Chicago's hitting coach. ... A day later, there was still a buzz about the unusual catch Royals left-fielder Alex Gordon made Friday on a fly ball by Alexei Ramirez. Gordon ran back and climbed the fence. But then he realized the ball wasn't going that far, so he jumped down and made a casual backhand catch. Many in the ballpark thought the ball was gone, including the person who sets off the fireworks celebrating every White Sox homer. "I wasn't fooled by that," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "I wasn't in charge of the fireworks. Believe it or not, we don't have a button controlling that in (the dugout)." ... Barring a last-second collapse of epic proportions, the Royals, who led the AL with a 2.55 bullpen ERA entering Saturday, will set a franchise mark. The previous low in a full season was 2.92 in 1976. ... The series, and the season, wraps up Sunday with White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (9-6) facing LHP Bruce Chen (8-4).