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Rapid Reaction: Royals 7, White Sox 2

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Getting away from the Detroit Tigers did nothing for the Chicago White Sox, who were thumped 7-2 by the Kansas City Royals on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series.

How it happened: Mark Buehrle was hit hard in more ways than one. He not only gave up seven runs (six earned) on 15 hits to the Royals, the final Kansas City hit of the game drilled him near his left shoulder and he had to leave the game. Buehrle has now given up 22 runs (20 earned) in his last three starts.

What it means: It seems like it happened a long time ago, but Thursday’s defeat officially eliminated the White Sox from playoff contention. They trailed by 5½ games at the start of the month and lost a massive amount of ground over the last two weeks as the Tigers got red hot. The closest the White Sox got to the division lead over the final two months was 3½ games as late as Aug. 17.

Outside the box: The 15 hits Buehrle allowed were the most in a single start in his career. Buehrle gave up 14 hits three times, the last time Aug. 2, 2008, against the Royals. The last White Sox pitcher to give up 15 hits was Kevin Tapani, June 20, 1996 against the Seattle Mariners.

What's next: White Sox right-hander Phil Humber (9-8, 3.43 ERA) will pitch in the second game of the four-game series on Friday. He will be opposed by Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino (3-6, 4.10) in the 7:10 p.m. start from Kauffman Stadium.