The start Gavin Floyd had today reminded me an awful lot of an outing he had against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim nearly two years to the date. On that day, he threw eight innings -- seven were scoreless, and he faced the minimum in six of them.
In the other inning, he allowed three runs on four hits and an intentional walk. That was enough to ruin his evening, as he lost to Jered Weaver by a score of 3-1.
This was just about the same story. Floyd did his job, pitching seven strong innings after Ozzie Guillen needed the entire bullpen during a rain-delayed mess on the night before. As it so happened, one bad inning and a lack of offensive support undermined his effort.
One could say this was an even tougher loss to take, because back-to-back miscues by his defense did him in.
In the third, David Murphy led off by reaching on Gordon Beckham's first error in 63 games. It wasn't an easy play for Beckham, as he got a bad hop from the hard Arlington infield while ranging to his left. Yorvit Torrealba followed with a deep drive to center on which Alex Rios turned the wrong way. It went over his head and bounced over the fence for a ground rule double, and a sac fly and a single later, the Rangers had all the runs they would need and get.
Otherwise, Floyd pitched well -- and he finished with a higher game score (69) than C.J. Wilson (64). Alas, Wilson threw a lot of first-pitch backdoor sliders for strike one, and the Sox found themselves in holes all day.
The Sox only managed two singles through the first six innings, and both were erased by the next batter on double-play balls. They finally reached scoring position in the seventh after back-to-back singles by Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin, and a third single by Paul Konerko drove in the Sox's first run.
It proved to be the only run as well. Alex Rios grounded into the third double play of the day to end that threat, setting the tone for a frustrating final three innings, where both questionable managing decisions and fortune went against the White Sox
In the eighth, A.J. Pierzynski reached with a leadoff walk off Mark Lowe. Brent Lillibridge bunted Pierzynski over to second (questionable call with six outs remaining), but it could have worked when Gordon Beckham lined a single to right. The problem was the single was too low -- it barely cleared the glove of a leaping Ian Kinsler, and so Pierzynski had to hold until the ball got past him.
That put runners on the corners with Brent Morel -- who grounded into one of the earlier double plays -- coming to the plate. Guillen lifted him for Adam Dunn, and Ron Washington countered with Darren Oliver. Dunn extended his slump against lefties to 0-for-32, striking out on a full-count, outside-corner cutter. Juan Pierre tapped out to the shortstop to end the inning.
Guillen's other possibilities for pinch-hitting weren't entirely appetizing. Omar Vizquel would be contact-oriented, but not a great bet to get the ball out of the infield. Dallas McPherson is a lefty who strikes out a lot. I probably would have stuck with Morel, who puts the ball in play, but yech. Guillen had four unappealing choices, and chose the guy with the track record. It didn't work.
Vizquel ended up entering the game as a pinch runner for Konerko, who drew the second of back-to-back walks off Texas closer Neftali Feliz. That put runners on first and second with one out, and here's where more bad luck befell the Sox.
Rios was jammed on a two-strike pitch, and shot a flare towards short right field. Kinsler had tracked it, but the ball clanked off his mitt -- and rolled right to Nelson Cruz, who was able to throw it to second for the forceout, with no real damage done. Feliz then got Pierzynski to fly out to center to end the game.