The Chicago White Sox had a terrible weekend in Kansas City, and the schedule doesn't get any easier when they return home.
Jose Quintana pitched seven effective innings Sunday, but the White Sox were shut down by Jeremy Guthrie and lost 5-2 to complete a three-game series sweep against the Royals.
"It's absolutely disappointing," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "It's frustrating. It's brutal. I expect us to play better. We need to play better."
Salvador Perez drove in three runs for the Royals, who swept a three-game series from the White Sox for the first time since 2003. It was only the second time the White Sox have been swept in a series this season.
"It's three days of not playing well," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "It always bothers you when you don't play well but we'll continue to play. We've got a lot of the season to play. We'll focus on tomorrow and playing better.
"I wouldn't say disappointed. I want them to play better and I expect them to play better. And they would agree with me. They know they should play better. They just need to play better. They know that, too."
Chicago still leads the AL Central by 1½ games over Detroit, which blew a five-run lead in a 7-5 loss to Baltimore. The White Sox open a three-game series against the AL East-leading Yankees on Monday.
Paul Konerko reached on an infield single with two out in the seventh for Chicago's first hit. Shortstop Alcides Escobar fielded Konerko's grounder on the outfield grass and his one-hop throw was dropped by first baseman Eric Hosmer.
"I didn't see it when I hit it; I just ran," Konerko said. "I'm the last guy to have any opinion on it. I know I'm not used to getting infield hits, so I'll take it."
Official scorer Del Black ruled it a hit and the Kauffman Stadium crowd of 22,401 loudly booed when the "H'' was flashed on the scoreboard.
"The shortstop was on the grass," said Black, who has been scoring Royals games since 1975. "He had to make a backhanded stop and he was off balance. It's a tough play from that deep. He makes that play a lot, but it's a tough play."
The White Sox collected two clean hits off Guthrie in the eighth when Dayan Viciedo and Ray Olmedo singled with two outs. Manager Ned Yost then summoned left-hander Tim Collins to face Dewayne Wise.
Both runners scored when Wise's hard grounder went between the legs of Hosmer and rolled to the right-field corner, tying it at 2.
"It was one of those games where you catch a break and tie it up, and you really want to win that one," Konerko said. "We got a gift to tie it. You really want to take advantage of that."
The error snapped Guthrie's scoreless streak at 22 innings, the longest by a Royal this year. Guthrie was charged with two unearned runs and yielded three singles.
Guthrie said giving up the first hit did not deflate him.
"That's a tough ground ball there," he said. "I didn't think Esky would get to it. When he got to it, I knew we had a shot at it and it just didn't work out.
"It was a tough play. He played himself into the chance to get an error or an hit. It went the way the scorer scored it. If he scored it a hit, great. If he scored it an error, great. My goal was to finish out the game with zero runs."
The Royals regained the lead with three runs in the bottom half. Billy Butler led off with a walk and was replaced by Jarrod Dyson, who swiped second for his 23rd stolen base in 26 attempts and scored on Perez's single to center off Jesse Crain (2-2).
Mike Moustakas walked and scored on a throwing error by Pierzynski. Lorenzo Cain's two-out single scored Hosmer, who reached on a walk.
Perez's double, a high chopper down the third-base line, drove in Cain and Escobar to put the Royals in front in the sixth.
Guthrie retired the first 14 batters he faced before walking Pierzynski on a full-count offering with two outs in the fifth. Alexei Ramirez broke his bat grounding out to third baseman Moustakas to end the inning.
Greg Holland (6-3) retired the final four batters to pick up the victory.
The Royals had four hits in the second inning and failed to score. Butler led off with a single, but Perez grounded into a double play. Moustakas, Jeff Francoeur and Hosmer hit consecutive singles, but Moustakas was thrown out at the plate when he attempted to score on Hosmer's hit.
NOTES: White Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis, who is nursing a sore right knee, rested. "I'm just trying to battle through something that's been barking a bit," Youkilis said. ... Yost celebrated his 58th birthday. ... Royals rookie LHP Will Smith, who has won his past two starts, will start Monday at Tampa Bay. The Rays will counter with RHP Jeremy Hellickson. ... The White Sox will start RHP Gavin Floyd on Monday when they open a homestand against the Yankees. The White Sox have lost six straight home games to the Yankees, who will start RHP Freddy Garcia.