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White Sox roughed up early, fall to Royals 7-2

Chicago White Sox starter Jose Quintanthrows against Kansas City Royals during first inning baseball game Chicago Friday June 13 2014.

Chicago White Sox starter Jose Quintana throws against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago on Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: June 14, 2014 1:28AM

Once again, one tough inning got the best of Jose Quintana.

Quintana gave up five runs in the first inning, and the Royals beat the White Sox 7-2 on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field. Quintana managed to last six innings while allowing six runs and eight hits.

The six earned runs were the most Quintana (3-7) has allowed since giving up seven against the Twins on Sept. 4, 2012. When Quintana struck out Royals No. 6 hitter Salvador Perez for his first out of the game, the Sox lefty was given a Bronx cheer.

Those struggles led to his third consecutive loss, and it was his third straight start with a big inning. Last Sunday in Anaheim, Quintana gave up three runs in the fifth inning in a 4-2 loss to the Angels. In the start before that, he gave up five unearned runs in the sixth in a loss to the Dodgers.

“Typically, he gives up one or two runs and then bounces right back with a number of zeroes,” catcher Tyler Flowers said before the game. “If he continues to do that, he’ll continue to be a guy we count on every fifth day.”

Quintana recovered, but it wasn’t enough to keep the White Sox from falling two games behind the second-place Royals in the tight American League Central. The Royals won their fifth in a row.

“It’s a tough division,” Robin Ventura said before the game. “When you start playing each other, you don’t see those records of teams beating a team 17 times out of 18. When that happens, you tend to beat yourself up and close the gap and bunch each other up.”

The Sox weren’t able to close the gap against Jeremy Guthrie (3-6), who improved to 9-7 lifetime against them. Guthrie went 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs and six hits while striking out nine, getting all the support he needed in the first.

The first five Royals got hits, punctuated by RBI singles from Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler and a run-scoring double by Alex Gordon. Quintana struck out Perez for the first out before Lorenzo Cain’s two-run double brought in Butler and Gordon.

The Sox got a run back in the bottom of the inning on Jose Abreu’s sacrifice fly, which drove in Adam Eaton for the rookie’s 51st RBI.

But Quintana couldn’t keep the Royals off the scoreboard in the second. Hosmer’s sacrifice fly brought in Nori Aoki for a 6-1 lead.

Guthrie gave the Sox a chance to cut into the lead in the second, allowing two singles and a walk to start the inning. He struck out Flowers for the first out but walked Eaton with the bases loaded. Guthrie limited the damage, striking out Gordon Beckham and getting Conor Gillaspie to fly to center to end the threat.

The Sox left 11 runners on base and were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

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