KANSAS CITY -- Nothing is automatic in the wacky world of Major League Baseball. White Sox closer Addison Reed can now attest to that as it relates to his 2013 season.
Reed took the mound in the ninth inning on Sunday with a 10-of-10 saves resume this year and 17 consecutive conversions dating to Aug. 25 of last season.
But the percentages finally caught up with Reed and the White Sox as Billy Butler delivered a two-out, two-run double to tie the game. Then, the Royals won it in the 10th when Alex Gordon's fly ball to right off Brian Omogrosso with the bases loaded carried over Alex Rios' head for a walk-off single as the Royals prevailed, 6-5.
Some losses hurt more than others and the White Sox could definitely feel the pain after an imperfect ending for their previously perfect closer.
The White Sox had battled back to take a 5-3 lead, when Reed came on for the ninth with the bottom of the Kansas City order coming up. Reed asked for trouble by walking Salvador Perez and then pinch-hitter George Kottaras. The next two hitters flied out, but Butler took the count to 3-2 before delivering his two-run double to right-center.
And suddenly, Mr. Automatic wasn't automatic any longer.
"I was just wild and couldn't get comfortable out there," Reed said. "I was all over the place. I was missing spots big time. The 3-2 pitch to Butler was a hanging slider, a terrible pitch. I hung it and he made me pay for it."
Reed wanted to reward his teammates after the White Sox showed comeback resiliency of their own with a four-run rally in the seventh against Kansas City's strong bullpen to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead.
"Our offense was awesome and I came in and let them down," Reed said. "I'll be ready to go [Monday]."
While the tying runs were tough to accept, so was the winning run.
When Gordon hit his fly ball to right in the 10th with two outs, Rios did not initially break back on a dead sprint. The ball carried well with the wind and got over Rios' outstretched glove.
"It's one of those balls where you didn't think he hit it that well, and it just carries," Rios said.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura saw a lot of things he liked on Sunday and a lot that he didn't like, starting with Reed's two walks to open the ninth.
"You don't make them put it in play and those are always what makes it tougher," Ventura said. "Nobody is going to be 100 percent, but you'd rather see them swing the bats."
Alejandro De Aza had a clutch two-run double to key the seventh-inning rally and made a fine catch on Eric Hosmer's liner to temporarily save the White Sox in the ninth. But the defense overall wasn't up to par, according to Ventura. A Miguel Tejada popup that fell in short center in the seventh due to miscommunication didn't cost the White Sox a run. But it symbolized the defensive challenges.
"It's sloppy," Ventura said. "For me, it's unacceptable stuff. It's simple stuff we've worked on over and over again. You've got to fix it."
When Gordon's ball left the bat in the 10th, Kansas City manager Ned Yost's initial thought was that the game would go on to the 11th. Asked if he thought Rios would get to Gordon's ball, Yost replied: "Yes, but he didn't. As soon as it was hit, I thought he was going to catch it."
White Sox starter Jose Quintana was excellent through four hitless innings and lasted through five, allowing six hits and three runs. The bullpen did the job until Reed's rare glitch in the ninth.
It came down to Reed versus Butler and Kansas City's 2012 All-Star delivered. Butler said he was sitting on a fastball and adjusted to the slider.
"He just left it up," Butler said.
It was that kind of frustrating day for Reed and the White Sox.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.