CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox's first defeat of the season Thursday exposed some more early-season oddities.
In the 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals that prevented a three-game sweep, it was the bottom of the order that did all it could to get the White Sox on track to manufacturing runs instead of the team just powering its way to tally marks on the scoreboard.
No. 8 hitter Tyler Flowers reached base four times with two walks, a single and a pitch that grazed his jersey, while No. 9 hitter Gordon Beckham had four singles to match a career best for hits in a game.
Alejandro De Aza managed to drive in Flowers on one occasion with a single, but the early struggles at the top of the order continued and the White Sox were held in check by Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie and three relievers.
"It's odd you get that at the bottom of the order and you don't get much out of it," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's the pitching. Those (Royals pitchers) find a way to get out of it and that's the way it goes."
It's early so the upside-down production from the lineup is noticeable but hardly a worrisome trend yet. In the first two games all the attention was given to the fact that the team's combined six runs came via the home run.
For now, the White Sox will chalk it up to the awkwardness of getting in sync to start a season.
"Hopefully we can keep it going and keep getting on base and give those guys at the top a chance to drive us in," Flowers said speaking for the rest of the bottom of the order.
De Aza's RBI came on just his first hit of the season as he is 1-for-12 after three games. No. 2 hitter Jeff Keppinger is also 1-for-12 in the early going. Meanwhile, Flowers and Beckham are a combined 9-for-16 (.563) with three walks in the Nos. 8 and 9 spots.
Keppinger, noted for his ability to make contact, has even struck out twice in his 12 at-bats, but Ventura won't fret about an early three-game sample from a player making a transition to a new team.
"He'll be fine," Ventura said. "He handles the bat fine. (Wednesday) he had a line drive that got caught. He knows what he's doing. Chalk it up to a bad three games and he'll keep going."
When the top of the order eventually comes around will the bottom continue to produce right along with them?
"Obviously, to score runs you've got to usually have them in scoring position," Beckham said. "It'll come. That's just the way it is. We haven't strung a lot of hits together yet."