US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The inability to turn a rather ordinary double play ball led to three Cleveland runs, but the focus remains on the struggling offense.
The White Sox failed to turn a double play that extended the fourth inning long enough for the Indians to score three of their four runs. Had Gordon Beckham made a better feed to Alexei Ramirez and racked 'em up in the manner we've become accustomed to, the White Sox would have won 3-1. At least that's the math Hawk Harrelson uses when he says the White Sox gave this one away.
I'm inclined to agree with him, but for a different reason. When White Sox pitching allows four runs over nine innings with the fifth starter on the mound, and they're facing a guy like Corey Kluber (1-4, 5.36 ERA), that should be good enough to win.
Instead, the White Sox offense gave away at-bats. And when they didn't, they gave away outs. They could only put together four hits and two walks against Kluber, and two of those baserunners were erased with unsuccessful steal attempts, ending the second and third innings prematurely.
Then again, it's understandable that Robin Ventura feels the need to "make something happen." The Sox scored all three of their runs by solo homer -- A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo went back-to-back off Kluber in the fifth, and Paul Konerko jumped on Chris Perez's first pitch to raise hopes in the ninth. Otherwise, they only had three at-bats with runners in scoring position, and they went hitless once again, dragging their average back down below .100 (5-for-52) since the start of the Kansas City series.
Really, the way the eighth inning unfolded almost justified the Sox's aggression on the basepaths. After Beckham drew a leadoff walk, he stayed put for Alejandro De Aza, who promptly grounded into his first double play all season. Kevin Youkilis' single then went for naught, because Vinnie Pestano struck out Adam Dunn this time.
The Sox had one more shot in the ninth inning. Dan Johnson and Ramirez drew back-to-back walks with two outs to bring Beckham to the plate. Like his mentor, Beckham got a hittable first-pitch fastball and took a cut at it. Unlike his mentor, it didn't turn into runs. He bounced to Asdrubal Cabrera, who got the force at second to end the game.
The lackluster output by the offense made a fine effort by the bullpen moot. Brian Omogrosso and Nate Jones each threw 2⅓ scoreless innings, sandwiching a two-up, two-down surprise appearance by Jose Quintana. The three pitchers combined to allow just two hits over 5⅓ scoreless innings after Liriano was pulled in the fourth, with six strikeouts and no walks.