08/14/08 7:50 PM ET
Royals roughed up in finale vs. Sox
Hurlers taken deep in four straight at-bats in the sixth
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The Chicago White Sox tied a Major League record Thursday by swatting four consecutive home runs as they defeated the Royals, 9-2, to sweep a three-game series.
Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe treated the 32,788 fans at U.S. Cellular Field to a franchise first in the sixth inning. This was the sixth time that a team had accomplished the feat.
"Four in a row," Royals reliever Peralta mused. "I'm on ESPN tonight, that's for sure."
No doubt about it, because Peralta surrendered the first three historic homers.
The stage was set when Peralta mixed walks to Ken Griffey Jr. and Carlos Quentin between two outs. Up came Thome, and the count went to 3-1.
"[Thome's homer] was a good pitch," Peralta said. "It was a split down, and I don't [know] what he was guessing on that but he got it. It was down, a good pitch, the only good pitch I made among the three homers."
After Thome's three-run drive landed in the right-field bleachers, Peralta's next pitch was launched down the left-field line by Konerko for another home run. Then, on a 1-2 pitch, Ramirez belted a drive to left field for the third homer.
Those were not good pitches.
"Fastball up, split up," Peralta said.
That was it for Peralta, as Royals manager Trey Hillman summoned another right-hander, Robinson Tejeda, from the bullpen.
"The toughest one had to be the fourth one, after they changed pitchers, but nobody was thinking about any of them," Konerko observed in the aftermath. "It just kind of happened before we knew it. It was out of nowhere."
Tejeda also went to 1-2 on Uribe, who clocked a liner into the left-field bullpen.
"It was a slider, kind of in-the-middle away," Tejeda said. "But he's the kind of guy who likes to get a hanging breaking ball and pull it to the left side, so that's exactly what he did."
So the White Sox had scored six runs and done a very rare thing. The last time it happened was April 22, 2007, when the Boston Red Sox had four in a row off the New York Yankees' Chase Wright.
"I didn't know the home run I hit made history," Uribe said. "I feel real good because Jim started that ... and it ended with me. I feel real good to be part of that record."
It wasn't so good for Peralta.
"The first two, you don't feel it," Peralta said. "The third one is the one you start feeling -- it's three in a row. [That is] the first time it's happened to me. It's not a good feeling, especially with me pitching good lately and with one game destroying everything I've done the last whole week."
Tejeda, while warming up in the bullpen, got swept up in the drama.
"I felt like I was part of a movie they were making today," he said.
In his script, though, he would have got Uribe out instead of turning the plot the White Sox way.
Could Hillman, watching from the Royals' dugout, believe it?
"You're seeing it, so you know it's happening," Hillman said. "You're just not making good pitches -- leaving pitches out over the plate to dangerous hitters. They hit a lot of home runs and we're making it easy for them."
True enough. His day started so promisingly, too. The Royals, shut out in the first two games here, jumped ahead of last-minute White Sox starter Lance Broadway, 2-0, in the first inning. However, that proved to be the only inning of 27 in this series that the Royals scored.
Meantime, Royals starter Kyle Davies gave up three runs in his five innings, expending 100 pitches in that time. That was the cue for Peralta to enter the game.
"Joel had been a lot better," Hillman said. "He took a big step back today in a one-run situation where we needed him to be what he had been recently."
The Royals collectively are taking steps back. They've lost seven of their last eight games. Being swept here meant they were just 2-7 at The Cell this season. And they'd given up four straight homers for the first time in franchise history.
"It's just not our time, I guess," catcher John Buck said.
It's a good time for the White Sox. They still lead the American League Central.
"We've effectively woken them up, and they're a first-place team for a reason," Hillman said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.