Rapid Reaction: Royals 6, White Sox 1

CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox fell 6-1 to the Kansas City Royals on Friday, their 22nd loss in their past 28 games.

How it happened: The Royals scored three runs in the first inning off White Sox ace Chris Sale and never looked back. The White Sox scored their lone run in the sixth inning on a solo home run from Gordon Beckham, his fifth. Sale gave up four runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings.

What it means: The White Sox still need to win one of the past two games against the Royals to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1970. The defeat guarantees the White Sox will lose at least 98 games, assuring them the fifth-most losses in franchise history. One more defeat and the White Sox will tie the 1934 team with 99 losses. The 1948 team lost 101 games, the 1932 team lost 102 and the 1970 club dropped 106.

Outside the box: Sale finished the best season of his young career with a 3.07 ERA after starting the night with a 2.97 mark. His 11-14 record was nowhere indicative of how well he pitched. The left-hander went 214 1/3 innings this season with 226 strikeouts and 46 walks. His strikeouts total improved by 34 over last season, while he walked five fewer batters. He ended 2012 with a 3.05 ERA.

Offbeat: Perhaps the White Sox had some extra fireworks to explode before the end of the season, because they put on a display in the sixth inning. Alexei Ramirez hit a drive to deep left field that sent Royals outfielder Alex Gordon climbing the outfield fence. Realizing the ball wouldn’t travel that far, Gordon dropped from the fence while catching the ball. It all looked so deceiving that the home run fireworks show started, with Ramirez making it almost to third base in his home run trot before realizing what happened.

Up next: The White Sox will send right-hander Erik Johnson (2-2, 2,82) to the mound on Saturday for his last outing of the season. The Royals will counter with right-hander Yordano Ventura (0-0, 1.59) in the 6:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.