The White Sox jumped out to an early lead with some fun baseball, then looked helpless as it slipped away.
Whether you're talking about tonight or the season, it's all the same. The Sox held leads of 2-0 after one and 5-2 through three innings, and by the seventh, they needed Matt Purke to throw three innings of garbage-time duty.
At least Purke delivered with scoreless baseball, making him your White Sox First Star of the Game. As for the season, the Sox are officially starting over after falling to .500. They also own fourth place with their fourth consecutive loss, which is their 19th in 25 games.
Mat Latos was on the mound for this one, making a good argument why he shouldn't be on the mound as a starter when the rotation stabilizes after the addition of James Shields and a return for Carlos Rodon, whose next start is being delayed due to neck problems. He looked as bad as his line (4.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 1 HR), and it could've been worse considering how much time he spend behind in the count. He threw just 48 of 91 pitches for strikes.
The fourth inning was a prime example of Latos' problems. It featured Latos getting behind in the count (Wilson Ramos smoked a 2-0 fastball to left for a single), and Latos not having enough power to put guys away. Ramos scored when Anthony Rendon got down and golfed a 1-2 curveball just over the wall in left. It wasn't a bad pitch, but it didn't have the bite to stay off the barrel.
That made a 5-2 game a 5-4 game, and it turned into a 6-5 deficit one inning later. After Michael Taylor erased his own leadoff single by leaving early on a steal attempt and getting picked off, Latos replaced the speedy baserunner by walking Ben Revere. Jayson Werth then singled to bring Bryce Harper to the plate.
Robin Ventura went to the bullpen, and just like the five-pitcher inning against the Royals two Fridays ago, he started with Dan Jennings for a situational lefty situation. Harper didn't think much of it, drilling a double over Austin Jackson's head in center to score both runs.
Jennings did get Murphy, and Matt Albers came in to get Wilson Ramos to stop the leak, but the foundation crumbled for good in the fourth-run seventh. That inning featured the three-headed monster of bad Albers pitching, two Tyler Saladino miscues, and a wild Zach Duke.
The smoke from the wreckage completely masked the crowd-pleasing start to the game. The Sox made Joe Ross look no better than Latos, as he allowed five runs on four hits and four walks on 91 pitches over the first four innings.
The Sox led 1-0 three batters in, as Jose Abreu followed walks by Adam Eaton and Jackson with an RBI single. They pushed another run across with a J.B. Shuck RBI walk, although they failed to capitalize further by leaving the bases loaded. Latos gave up two in the second to give it a bad aftertaste.
No matter -- the Sox were good for three more in the third. With one out, Eaton took an HBP, Jackson moved him to third, and Abreu scored him with a sac fly to retake the lead. Todd Frazier then watched the first three out of the zone (including another high-and-tight pitch), then blitzed Ross by pounding his 3-0 pitch over the wall in center for a two-run homer, making it a 5-2 game.
Then the Sox were done scoring, although you can't blame the stars this time. The top five hitters -- Eaton, Jackson, Abreu, Frazier and Melky Cabrera -- combined to reach base 13 times. The bottom four hitters combined to go 0-for-15 with two walks and five strikeouts.
At least it only took three hours and 55 minutes.