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Opportunity knocks for Royals and White Sox, but only Chicago answers in win over KC

It was defeat by a thousand cuts for the Royals in their 5-1 loss to the White Sox on Saturday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.

OK, it wasn’t a thousand little things that went wrong for the Royals, but there were plenty of them.

The Royals trailed 2-1 in the sixth inning when starting pitcher Jordan Lyles walked leadoff hitter Andrew Benintendi, and Luis Robert followed by reaching on catcher’s interference.

Another walk, this one to Yoán Moncada, loaded the bases and ended Lyles’ day. Jose Cuas relieved and got a strikeout, but Jake Burger followed with a bases-clearing double in the gap that made it 5-1.

Nick Pratto led off the top of the seventh with a single and Freddy Fermin followed with a walk, offering hope of a Royals comeback. And after an out, Edward Olivares hit a flare to center field that should have loaded the bases.

Instead, Fermin retreated back toward first base before realizing the ball would hit the grass. Center fielder Robert threw to second to force out Fermin.

Bobby Witt Jr. then struck out after he was nearly hit by a pitch. Instead, the ball hit the knob of his bat and then his finger.

Two opportunities. Two very different outcomes.

“We didn’t cash them in,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “We did a good job of putting some pressure on them and then on the opposite side, they cashed in on theirs.”

The Royals also saw Witt get caught stealing ahead of Salvador Perez’s first-inning home run. An inning later, Pratto doubled and tried to take third on a grounder to third base, but it ended up being a 5-3-5 double play.

Missed the previous game of the series?

Game 1: Royals held to one hit in 2-0 loss to White Sox

Another key moment

Perez and right fielder MJ Melendez had consecutive one-out singles in the fourth inning. After an out, Pratto walked and the bases were loaded with two outs.

Fermin worked the count full before striking out as the Royals missed a chance to tie the game or take the lead.

The Royals were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

Lyles still winless

Lyles’ record dropped to 0-8. His ERA ticked up slightly to 7.15.

After being staked to a 1-0 lead in the first, Lyles allowed three straight hits, including a two-run single by Moncada.

Lyles retired the next 10 batters in order and it was a one-run game until the White Sox broke it open in the sixth.

“Kind of went cruise control for a couple of innings,” Lyles said, “and then the sixth inning, just an unnecessary walk to start off the inning to Benintendi.

“Then the unfortunate Robert interference. And then Moncada had another good at-bat that made me come to him. And I tried to get a curveball in the zone and I just missed, and that was my day.”

What’s next: The Royals will close out a 10-day road trip Sunday with the finale of the three-game series against the White Sox. Carlos Hernández will start for the Royals, while Lance Lynn gets the ball for the White Sox. The game starts at 1:10 p.m.