White Sox stall after early missed chance

Offense comes up empty on 1st-inning threat against Duffy

White Sox stall after early missed chance

CHICAGO -- Two runners were on base, no one was out and the White Sox had the makings of an ideal first inning against Royals starter Danny Duffy.

In a 4-1 loss to Kansas City on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field, though, that's not how it worked out.

With Adam Eaton on second after walking and advancing on Jose Abreu's single, No. 3 hitter Melky Cabrera came to the plate with eight hits in his past 15 at-bats.

Rather than swing away, Cabrera dropped a bunt down the first-base line on the first pitch. Duffy fielded the ball, and his throw barely beat Cabrera to first as Abreu and Eaton advanced to scoring position for cleanup hitter Todd Frazier.

"He decided to do that on his own," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's up there sensing the situation, and I think he thought we could get on the board early by getting them over."

Cabrera's sacrifice bunt

Despite the strange decision, the White Sox still had a great scoring opportunity -- at least before Frazier struck out on three pitches and Brett Lawrie flied out to end the inning.

It was reminiscent of when Ventura called for a Cabrera bunt in the seventh inning of a 1-0 loss to the Mets on May 30. Frazier fouled out and J.B. Shuck grounded out, causing the bunt to backfire.

Frazier said he was fine with Cabrera's decision to bunt Saturday. He wasn't fine with his own strikeout.

"I've got to put the ball in play," Frazier said. "Bottom line. I'm a four-hole hitter. I've got to do my job. I didn't do my job. Three pitches -- it's pretty embarrassing, to be honest with you. At least we could have got one out of there, maybe put a little more pressure on them and it would have been a different story. … For me, the first inning was big. That changed everything."

Duffy went on to cruise through six innings, giving up only three hits. The White Sox finally scored in the ninth on Avisail Garcia's RBI single, but Chicago went through a stretch of 17 consecutive outs before Frazier singled in the ninth.

Garcia's RBI single

The result was another tough-luck decision for starter Jose Quintana, who has lost his past six starts, receiving no more than one run of support in all six. That hasn't happened to a White Sox pitcher since Ross Baumgarten went seven starts without getting at least two runs of support in 1980.

"Q is a great competitor and a great person," Eaton said. "Everyone in this clubhouse feels awful when we can't produce for him. … We got to get going offensively. We really do. It's been stagnant on the basepaths. You don't even have an effective at-bat, top to bottom, it hasn't been there. Our pitching staff has been giving us good outings, so we got to step it up offensively."

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.