Except for those two blemishes, Santana matched zeros with Danks through six innings. He walked two and struck out five, including Josh Phegley to leave the bases loaded in the fourth.
It was the fourth straight win for the White Sox and the third consecutive loss for the Royals, who are slip-sliding out of wild-card contention after a spirited run. They’ve lost six of their last eight games, their lone wins coming in a sweep of a double-header in Detroit.
Things are going so badly that balls are disappearing on them at the worst of times.
Konerko led off the second inning with a double, and Avisail Garcia singled to put runners on the corners for the White Sox. Santana was facing Conor Gillaspie when he threw a pitch that hit the tip of Salvador Perez’s glove and bounced toward the backstop behind home plate.
The ball disappeared in the green padding above one of the advertising signs, and Perez threw up his hands as if to say, “What now?” Meanwhile, Konerko had started to trot home with a confused look on his face, and for a moment nobody in the ballpark seemed to know what was going on.
“I never seen anything like that,” Santana said. “I was looking at Salvy and he was looking at me. I was like, ‘Where’s the ball?’ He’s like, ‘I don’t know!’ It was hard.”
Garcia was awarded second base, but Santana retired the next three batters to limit the damage.
“I mean, that stuff happens,” Ventura said. “It’s one of those you lose in the tarp or the way they have advertising now, it’s just one of those that kind of goes your way.”
Kansas City’s bullpen pitched three shutout innings once Santana left the game, but its woeful offense couldn’t break through against Danks, who came into the game with a 4.54 ERA. He never allowed a runner to reach third base, and even picked off a runner at first in the eighth.
“We weren’t doing anything offensively, and then he got ahead of us,” the Royals’ Alex Gordon said. “A lot of guys were taking, trying to get something going. But he was pounding the zone, throwing a lot of strikes. Give credit to him, but we just didn’t do a very good job offensively.”