Mark Buehrle extended his streak of pitching at least six innings to 49 consecutive starts Tuesday night, but a forgettable sixth inning snapped the White Sox's 10-game winning streak over the Royals this season.
Buehrle was tagged for six runs during a bizarre sixth that enabled the Royals to thump the Sox 7-1 at damp Kauffman Stadium.
The seven runs equaled the most scored off Buehrle this season. Oakland accomplished the feat twice, but Buehrle had not allowed more than four runs in an inning this season.
The loss was embarrassing but not devastating, as the Sox (65-34) maintained their 12-game lead over the Twins in the American League Central.
The Sox, however, were guilty of three errors--one shy of their season high committed here April 24.
Making the loss just as maddening to the Sox was that Kansas City starter Jose Lima (4-8), who had a 6.92 ERA entering Tuesday's game, limited them to one run over six innings while celebrating a couple of outs by pumping his fist and once glaring at the Sox's dugout.
"When Lima's on, it's Lima time," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "When he's not on, it's opposition time."
Buehrle (11-4) limited the Royals to one run on three hits through the first five innings before he and the Sox collapsed.
"They were using the whole field and everything in between," Buehrle said. "The defense wasn't there, and I wasn't backing up bases."
The Sox were caught off guard when Royals slugger Mike Sweeney bunted for a hit after rookie Chip Ambres had singled. Emil Brown then poked an opposite-field double inside the first-base line to score Ambres and give the Royals a 2-1 lead.
But their strategy was foiled when Mark Teahen hit a double that hugged the right-field line. Second baseman Willie Harris' relay throw skipped past catcher A.J. Pierzynski to clear the bases and give Kansas City a 7-1 lead.
Buehrle appreciated that Guillen stuck with him long enough to extend the streak with reliever Luis Vizcaino warming up in the midst of the rally.
"It's going to have to end one of these days," said Buehrle, who has lost three of his last five starts after pitching 14 consecutive starts without a loss.
The start of Tuesday's game was delayed 1 hour 23 minutes because of rain.
Buehrle pitched on the same night that the price for Florida pitcher A.J. Burnett might have increased.
Boston, which is involved in the Burnett sweepstakes, lost All-Star pitcher Matt Clement for an indefinite period after a line drive by Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford struck Clement behind his right ear. Clement had to be carried off on a stretcher and early reports were that he would be OK.
It's still uncertain whether the Marlins will trade Burnett, but an offer could overwhelm them before Sunday's 3 p.m. non-waiver trading deadline.
San Francisco, which entered play Tuesday 14 games below .500 in the weak National League West, continued to keep its options open.
The Giants had scouts at the Sox-Royals and Pirates-Marlins games and showed interest in Harris in spring training.
Harris started his second consecutive game for the first time since May 13-14. The Sox have taken a look at Pittsburgh's versatile infielder Rob Mackowiak of Oak Lawn.
But Guillen reiterated no trades are imminent.
"Right now, this is what we're going to have," Guillen said. "I don't expect anything different."