Updated: June 14, 2014 8:55PM
Manager Robin Ventura said the White Sox’ “recipe” Saturday was good for losing.
Ventura wasn’t kidding.
Hector Noesi only lasted 32/3 innings and gave up five runs in the Sox’ 9-1 loss against the Kansas City Royals.
Noesi surrendered all five in the fourth inning, but three of the runs were unearned after third baseman Leury Garcia let Lorenzo Cain’s bases-loaded grounder get by him. He also wasn’t helped when a lunging Dayan Viciedo couldn’t get to Mike Moustakas’ pop fly to shallow left, bringing in another run.
Combine that with the offense’s struggles against Danny Duffy, and Ventura was right. The recipe was good for their third consecutive loss and sixth in their last eight games.
“[Duffy] was good,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘It’s a credit to him. He shut us down offensively; he was throwing great. On the other hand, we didn’t play defense behind Hector, and that’s a recipe to lose a game in a hurry.
‘‘It has to get better if you’re going to plan on winning games, that’s for sure. Hector, he’s been good for us. He’s always given us a chance, but you have to help him out on occasion.”
Duffy threw seven-plus scoreless innings and struck out nine to match a career high. And if not for Paul Konerko’s homer in the ninth, the Sox would’ve been blanked for the second time in three days after Max Scherzer’s shutout Thursday.
The Sox have scored only three runs in their last 27 innings and have been outscored 16-3 by the Royals in the first two games of this series.
“I think it’s a combination of sometimes the way a game flows,’’ Konerko said. ‘‘The offense and the defense and the pitching, all that kind of works hand in hand. Just having to line that up right. We’ve lost three in a row. The [Royals] are swinging the bats well. They’re hitting good pitches, too. It’s not even like they’re all mistakes.”
The mistakes Noesi made were exacerbated by the defense behind him, something that has been a running theme for the Sox since last year.
Garcia’s error was the Sox’ 53rd — the second-most in the American League.
“I can’t control that,” Noesi said. “Every team has a few days that are not good.”
Since coming to the Sox on April 25 after being claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers, Noesi has had a surprisingly high number of good days and had won two straight. Regardless of the defense, this wasn’t one of those days.
The first six Royals reached in the fourth, and Noesi’s day ended when Omar Infante singled to bring in Moustakas and put the Royals in front 5-0.
It was an inning that felt similar to the first Friday, when Kansas City batted around and scored five times against left-hander Jose Quintana.
“It was very similar to Q’s game,” Ventura said. “It just kept snowballing to where you couldn’t get out of that inning.”