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Pirates 3, White Sox 2: Swept again

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Losing streak hits seven as offense's struggles reach historical levels

Jon Durr/Getty Images

If you watched this game mainly to monitor Jeff Samardzija's trade value, then you probably came away from this game feeling OK.

He resisted death by 1,000 papercuts, allowing two runs on 10 mostly soft hits and zero walks while striking out seven. One of those two runs scored because he didn't stay out of the way of a tailor-made 4-6-3 ball, deflecting it for an RBI infield single instead. He pitched around another mistake in the seventh inning when Adam Eaton neither called for a pop-up in shallow center, nor gave Alexei Ramirez the space to commit to it.

Alexei-Eaton

He departed trailing 2-1, but a Geovany Soto solo shot got him off the hook, so he ended up battling Pittsburgh ace Gerrit Cole to a draw, just like he did with Chris Archer:

  • Smarch: 7 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
  • Cole: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

If you watched this game primarily hoping the White Sox could snap their six-game losing streak, you were out of luck.

The Pirates completed their home-and-away sweep by the same score as Wednesday night, castrating the White Sox offense to a historical degree in the process:

Seeing that, it was a minor miracle that this game was tied entering the eighth inning. Alas, the Sox dashed those hopes by giving up a Pittsburgh run in the eighth with a painful combination:

  • Bad luck: Jake Petricka gave up an infield single.
  • Bad trends: Zach Duke gave up a single to lefty Pedro Alvarez to put runners on the corners.
  • Questionable strategy: The infield played back on Gregory Polanco, who has grounded into one double play his entire career.

The Sox haven't had a whole lot of success with the infield in, but Gordon Beckham couldn't even try making a 4-6-3 out of Polanco's grounder to second. He settled for a 4-3, and that made the difference.

But once again, it's the offense. They faced a tall task against Cole, who improved to 11-2, even though tonight's line raised his ERA all the way to 1.78. But it's hard to say they deserve any respite, considering they couldn't his Jeff Locke the night before.

They scored two against Cole, but they also left two runs on the field, both in the form of Adam Eaton. He led off in the first with an infield single, moved to second on a wild pitch, and neither J.B. Shuck (strikeout), Jose Abreu (1-3), nor Adam LaRoche (strikeout) could move him any further.

Likewise, in the sixth, Eaton led off with a walk, stole second, then moved to third on Shuck's sac bunt (which was an attempt at a bunt single, and nearly successful). But Abreu chased a low 1-0 pitch and bounced out harmlessly to third, and after LaRoche walked to extend the inning, Melky Cabrera lined out to center to end the threat.

With innings like that, it's a surprise when they actually execute. Such an occurrence happened in the fourth. After the Pirates bled a run across on the infield single off Samardzija's glove, Abreu answered with a soft double off the end of his bat, hit just hard enough to clear both infielders on the right side and roll away from them. Abreu then advanced to third on a LaRoche fly to center and scored on a Cabrera sac fly to even the score.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox haven't led since the seventh inning at Tropicana Field on Sunday. They have scored five runs over their last five games.

*Gordon Beckham went 0-for-3 out of the ninth spot, and is in the one of the quieter 1-for-35 slumps you'll see.

Record: 28-37 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights