CHICAGO -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy looked at his stat line against the White Sox in disbelief: 5 1/3 innings, seven hits, five runs, two walks, seven strikeouts.
"The [performance] didn't reflect what the stat line shows," Kennedy said. "I felt like my fastball was good. I made that one mistake with the slider, to [White Sox catcher Kevan] Smith. But just frustrating, because I felt better than the results."
Kennedy felt his fastball had good life, enough to get plenty of strikeouts in the Royals' 8-1 loss to the White Sox on Sunday.
But Kennedy fell behind early in the first inning, giving up a two-run homer to Avisail Garcia, then a fourth-inning homer to Smith. In between, he retired nine straight hitters.
"First inning, I didn't think he was real sharp," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He made a mistake up and in to Garcia. But after the first inning, I thought he was much, much better. He made a mistake on the slider to [Smith]. But he did a good job of getting us into the sixth inning, keeping it close."
Kennedy had recently skipped his turn in the rotation to let his fatigued right shoulder heal. He came back last week in Toronto and threw five solid innings.
"I felt like the last start was kind of trending in the right direction," Kennedy said. "Kind of like when I was getting some swings and misses with my fastball later in the game. That's usually a good thing.
"But later in the game, I just made a couple mistakes. It's frustrating. You feel a little better. The whole plan was in missing that start was to feel better. And I did. It's more frustrating when you do feel good, or you feel better than you have in the last month or so ... and you don't get the results."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.