KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- All year long, they could do almost nothing wrong. Now, the Chicago White Sox can hardly do anything right -- and they could be in trouble.
"We're playing lousy baseball on the bases, pitching, everything," manager Ozzie Guillen said Thursday after the Kansas City Royals emerged with a 7-5 win over the mistake-prone White Sox. "There's no doubt about it. We really flat-out stink. It's not the same team I've been watching all year."
The White Sox have lost six of seven, including back-to-back setbacks against a Kansas City team that has the worst record in the majors. Their lead over Cleveland in the AL Central that stood at 9½ games on Sept. 7 has shrunk to 4½.
The White Sox committed two costly baserunning blunders and gave up a season-high eight doubles to the Royals, who lost to Chicago the first 10 times they played this year.
It was also another shaky outing for Mark Buehrle (15-8), who is 5-5 in the second half of the season.
"Ever since the All-Star break, it seems like I haven't had too many good games. It's frustrating," said Buehrle. "We've still got six games with Cleveland. And the way that they're playing, they could sweep us right now. If we keep on playing like we're playing, we're not going to the playoffs. We'll be home on Oct. 3."
The White Sox held a seemingly commanding 15-game lead as late as Aug. 1. The Indians haven't been this close since April 20.
"If I named all that I'm disappointed about, we might be here all day," Guillen said. "The entire week was disappointing. Even the game we won, I was disappointed. If we continue to play like this, good luck."
John Buck hit a two-run double to key four-run seventh inning for the Royals.
Buehrle (15-8) went 6 1/3 innings for the White Sox and was charged with four runs on nine hits, with two walks and three strikeouts.
Chip Ambres opened the Kansas City seventh with his second double. With one out, Emil Brown chased Buehrle with an RBI single that put the Royals on top 3-2. Angel Berroa singled off reliever Luis Vizcaino ahead of Buck's double. A walk and an infield single loaded the bases, and Vizcaino walked in the sixth run.
Tadahito Iguchi's pinch three-run double off Andrew Sisco sliced the Royals' lead to 6-5 in the eighth, but Berroa added an RBI single in the eighth on a cool, rainy day which drew a crowd that seemed much smaller than the announced 9,258.
Mike MacDougal got the final four outs for his 19th save in 22 chances.
In the second inning, A.J. Pierzynski singled after Dye's home run but was easily thrown out while attempting to score on Joe Crede's double.
Carl Everett was hit by a pitch with one out in the sixth and went to third on Dye's double. But he overran the bag and was tagged out trying to get back.
Greinke managed to avoid becoming the major leagues' first 17-game loser.
"I got bailed out by the defense and by bad baserunning," he said. "They're playing for a lot. You can see how pumped-up they are."
- Dye leads AL right fielders with 28 home runs.
- Scott Podsednik , caught trying to steal second base in the first inning, has been thrown out a major league-leading 21 times.
- Buehrle's ERA, the second-best in the AL coming in, rose from 3.13 to 3.21.
- Before they rallied for three runs in the ninth for a 10-9 victory on Wednesday night, the Royals had lost 158 of 159 games when they trailed entering the ninth.
- The Royals had four wild pitches in the three-game series.