KANSAS CITY -- New manager for the Royals, same old anemic result for the White Sox offense.
For half a game, it looked as though Ned Yost's managerial debut with Kansas City might be spoiled by a Mark Buehrle masterpiece. But the veteran left-hander was a no-hit pitcher for 4 1/3 innings and a no-luck pitcher thereafter.
With Kansas City breaking through for five runs in the seventh, punctuated by a series of bloops and bleeders off Buehrle, the Royals rolled to a 6-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium. Take away A.J. Pierzynski's run-scoring single in the fifth and it was all an empty blur for a makeshift Chicago lineup that had to make adjustments in the wake of Andruw Jones' neck injury and Carlos Quentin's stomach sickness.
Don't look now, but the White Sox, 14-21, are hitting an American League-low .229 and leaving manager Ozzie Guillen in a continuous search for offensive solutions.
"If I knew we had a bad-hitting team, I could live with that," Guillen said. "But I always say, 'We're better than this.' Every time we take the field, I think we're going to score a lot of runs. But every day, I come up empty. Frustrated, empty, unhappy.
"As a manager, you try to stay positive. It's not easy to stay positive when you see the rewind of the same movie."
Credit the Kansas City defense for doing its part to short-circuit the Chicago attack at a key juncture on Friday. With the White Sox leading 1-0 and Royals starter Gil Meche showing some signs of weakening, center fielder Mitch Maier made a fine catch on Paul Konerko's drive to prevent an extra-base hit leading off the sixth. Later in the inning, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt ranged to his left and took a potential RBI hit away from former Royal Mark Teahen.
That KC defense cut into Buehrle's margin for error and seemed to energize the Royals. Betancourt's homer tied it in the sixth and Kansas City pecked away for the big seventh to win going away. An RBI bloop single by Jose Guillen and a two-run single by Maier meant Buehrle was doomed to a fifth consecutive loss.
Buehrle is now 20-10 alltime versus the Royals, but has dropped his last two decisions against Kansas City. He retired the first 13 hitters before Guillen singled to right in the fifth. From that point on, it went downhill quickly.
"You just have to keep battling," Buehrle said. "I'm making good pitches and they are just finding holes right now."
Buehrle refuses to blame his personal losing streak on a lack of run support. Instead, he's pointing the finger at himself. The late burst of Kansas City offense meant Buehrle finished the night with a 5.26 ERA.
"You want run support, but when you've got a five ERA, it's not like you're holding a team down, to give your team a chance to win," Buehrle said. "It seems like I cruise along and have that one bad inning."
Pierzynski said Chicago's performance through six weeks is puzzling, given that the team has been relatively healthy.
"Things aren't going our way," Pierzynski said. "I said, 'Did we kick someone's dog or did someone put some voodoo on us?' It's amazing. We just can't find a way to win. We go up 1-0 and Mark is cruising right along. Then, wham. It just seems like it's not meant to be, but we have to find a way to battle through it."
On a night when Gordon Beckham went 2-for-4, recording his first multi-hit game since April 30, other White Sox hitters didn't step up. Perhaps it was a sign of the times for the White Sox offense that Omar Vizquel was in the starting lineup for the first time in his career as a designated hitter.
Meche entered the game with an 8.24 ERA, but impressed his new manager with a resurgent effort. Meche allowed just four hits and two runs over six innings. Left-hander Dusty Hughes and rookie right-hander Blake Wood finished off the White Sox without much problem.
"It seems like no matter who's pitching -- lefty, righty, knuckleball, hard-throwing -- they've looked very good against us," Guillen said. "I wish I had the answer."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.