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Rangers 2, White Sox 1: When a shutout's worth of pitching isn't enough

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Road trip ends with a whimper as bats waste a strong start from Carlos Rodon

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There was an emblematic moment for the White Sox offense early in this game. Avisail Garcia drew a walk to load the bases in the first inning for Alexei Ramirez, which was good. Alexei Ramirez took two pitches out of the zone, which was also good.

Ramirez then got a 2-0 fastball, which was good. And he put a good swing on it. The contact looked good from the center-field camera. The follow through was good.

And the ball didn't even make it to the warning track. Leonys Martin ran it down with strides to spare. That's often been the problem this year: The batted balls just don't go anywhere or do anything cool. Everything and everybody is underpowered in one form or another.

And for nine of the subsequent 10 innings, they really didn't generate any real kind of excitement.

That's a shame, because Carlos Rodon certainly did. He gave up a run in the first inning when a leadoff double came around to score, but even that inning had something to write home about, as Rodon stranded runners on the corners with three consecutive strikeouts.

Rodon didn't allow another run, but he did strike out a career-high 10 over six innings. The Rangers helped him out of a similar jam in the second with a botched bunt, but he started racking up outs with extreme prejudice afterward, setting down the next nine. He finished his night by getting Martin to ground out with a runner on third, but it wasn't quite the threat as it was early on. He had gained control of the situation.

The defense held up its end of the bargain -- especially Carlos Sanchez. He snared a hot Prince Fielder grounder with the bases loaded to end the second inning, then saved the game by making a monster turn on a bases-loaded 6-4-3 in the eighth inning, making a strong throw while taking a shot from Martin. Alexei Ramirez also contributed a couple of plays, and the Sox played errorless ball on the whole while the Rangers committed four of them.

What about the bullpen? Not really. Robin Ventura managed this game in an interesting fashion. He used Jake Petricka in the seventh, and Zach Duke cleaned up his mess in that inning, then lasted an out into the eighth. That much was normal.

But then Ventura went to Daniel Webb, and a questionable move looked even iffier when he gave up a pair of singles to load the bases (fortunately for Webb, Joey Gallo was the lead runner). But he escaped the inning by inducing the aforementioned double play off the bat of Hanser Alberto, then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of strikeouts.

Then Ventura stuck with Webb for the 10th, even after he gave up a leadoff single to Mitch Moreland. Adam Rosales pinch-ran for Moreland and moved to second on a groundout, and then Webb walked Gallo intentionally to set up the double play. Still in there after two innings and 30 pitches, Webb got Robinson Chirinos to hit a soft liner with the runners in motion, and Sanchez caught it for an easy unassisted double play.

Dan Jennings took over in the 11th, and that's when it unraveled. He gave up a single to Martin, got a bunt out, and then gave up a game-winning single from Choo. It's yet another poor outing for Jennings, and while it'd be easier to have sympathy for him for losing because of two rather ordinary grounders, his ERA is 7.83 now.

Yet he isn't the biggest goat, because White Sox pitchers combined to throw nine scoreless innings after trailing 1-0, and the offense didn't do anything with that. The bats did tie up in the fourth, but they needed help. Garcia reached on a throwing error, and took third on a hit-and-run with Alexei Ramirez. Gordon Beckham then came through with a sac fly for one run, but that was it, off Yovani Gallardo or the five Texas relievers.

The box score says the Sox stranded 10 runners, but that almost sounds like a compliment considering they only had five at-bats with runners in scoring position (0-for-5). They needed more Texas help for their only other threat of the night, which came in the eighth. Adam LaRoche reached on an infield single with one out, probably because Elvis Andrus rushed to make a play and bobbled the exchange. He then moved to second when Gallo booted Ramirez's hot grounder with two outs, which kept the inning alive. Then Beckham hit a flyout to center, and the Sox only had a two-out single over their last three innings.

Bullet points:

*It was a hands-off game for Ventura. Besides letting Webb face 10 batters, Ventura didn't use a single pinch-hitter or pinch-runner during the course of the game.

*Opponents are starting to seek out Melky Cabrera from the right side, as Jeff Banister called on his LOOGY to face him with two outs and a runner on in the seventh. Cabrera hit a routine groundout to short.

Record: 24-28 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights