By MARK GONZALES | Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie Nick Pratto hit two home runs to highlight a career-high four-hit performance and the Kansas City Royals sent the Chicago White Sox to their fifth straight loss, 9-7 on Tuesday night.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa missed the game because of an unspecified medical issue. The team said the 77-year-old Hall of Famer was out on the recommendation of his doctors and would undergo further testing Wednesday.
La Russa’s absence was announced about one hour before the first pitch. He showed no signs of health trouble during his pregame session with reporters. Bench coach Miguel Cairo took over as Chicago fell for the 10th time in its last 12 games since moving to a season-high five games over .500 on Aug. 16.
“We’re going to find out (Wednesday) what is going on, and hopefully he’s going to be fine and he’s back (Wednesday) to do his duties,” Cairo said. “We are going to keep him in our thoughts and hopefully everything is fine.”
Gavin Sheets homered twice and drove in five runs for the White Sox.
“It was weird,” Sheets said of La Russa’s sudden departure. “We didn’t have much of a heads up. I don’t know all the details. We’re obviously praying for him, praying for a full recovery.”
Salvador Perez and Michael A. Taylor each homered and drove in three runs for the Royals. Pratto added a double and also had three RBIs.
Pratto hit solo home runs in each of his first two at-bats against Lucas Giolito (10-8), and his single off reliever Tanner Banks sparked a two-run sixth. Pratto hit a ground-rule double off Jake Diekman to score Ryan O’Hearn in the seventh.
Pratto is 8 for 17 with four doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs in his last four games. This marked the first multi-homer game of Pratto’s career.
“I’m just focusing more on what I want to go after and making better decisions in the box,” Pratto said. “That’s the essence of it. I’m definitely making fewer mistakes.”
Perez went 3 for 3 against Giolito, raising his career batting average against him to .419 (13 for 31) with three homers and 10 RBIs. Perez’s two-run, opposite-field drive to right extended the Royals’ lead to 3-0 in the third, and his RBI single in the fifth made it 5-0.
“We face (Giolito) a lot,” Perez said. “I’m not afraid to swing. If I hit a homer like that, I won’t be afraid to swing at that pitch. I’m super aggressive sometimes.”
Perez is batting .448 (13 for 29) with two homers and nine RBIs in his last seven games.
The White Sox chased starter Brady Singer with four runs in the fifth, capped by a three-run homer from Sheets. Singer had a 1.37 ERA in his last four starts prior to Tuesday.
Sheets hit a two-run homer in the ninth for his second career multi-homer game.
“We know there’s a sense of urgency,” Sheets said after the White Sox fell six games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. “This is the final sprint, 33 games left and we got to go.”
Jose Cuas (3-2) relieved Singer and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win.
Eloy Jimenez, whose RBI single preceded Sheets’ homer, led off the seventh with a homer against Carlos Hernandez.
Royals: INF Vinnie Pasquantino (right shoulder discomfort) increased the intensity of his work in the batting cage, manager Mike Matheny said. … OF Edward Olivares (left quad strain) started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha, going 1 for 3 with an infield hit and two strikeouts in a game.
White Sox: OF Luis Robert (left wrist) missed his fourth consecutive start due to lingering discomfort. … 3B Yoan Moncada (left hamstring strain) fielded grounders before Tuesday’s game. Moncada is eligible to return from the 10-day injured list Sept. 5. … LHP Aaron Bummer (left lat strain) started a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte. Bummer hasn’t pitched in a major league game since June 7 but plans to return next week. … LHP Garrett Crochet threw for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery April 5.
White Sox: C Yasmani Grandal (left knee hyperextension) likely will be activated before Wednesday’s game, La Russa said.
Royals: Will start LHP Kris Bubic (2-9, 5.62) on Wednesday. Bubic allowed a season-high six earned runs in four innings in a 13-5 loss Friday to the Padres.
White Sox: Will start RHP Lance Lynn (3-5, 5.00), who will be activated from the bereavement list. Lynn allowed two runs in six innings of a 4-3 loss Thursday to the Orioles.
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