New month, same result; Sox drop fifth straight

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New month, same result; Sox drop fifth straight

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Posted: 4:15 p.m. Updated: 6:18 p.m.

Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) Zach Britton didn't need his best stuff to beat the White Sox's dismal offense.Britton pitched six strong innings and Nick Markakis hit a three-run double to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-4 victory Sunday.Luke Scott and Mark Reynolds added solo home runs for Baltimore, which has won five of its last six. The Orioles will try to complete a four-game sweep Monday night.Britton (5-1) allowed one run on five hits, struck out one and had three walks. The 23-year-old rookie left-hander lowered his ERA to 2.63. Britton was lifted after the sixth inning because of a callus that developed on his left middle finger."It's not a huge deal," said Britton, who had the callus removed. "I know Buck (Showalter) just said he wanted to kill it now before anything happens. It is something I get from the way I throw my sinker. It's kind of unique grip and it kind of give me a callus every now and then and it kind of happened today. They did a good job of taking it out. It's not really an issue, it's more of the weather, my hands are dry and that kind of stuff happens."The White Sox did have opportunities, but they squandered 11 baserunners."They are waiting for something to happen to get them on the right track," Britton said. "I felt like I gave them some good chances to get back in the game, walking guys when we were ahead in the game and that is a big no-no and I did that today which is frustrating. I have some stuff I need to work on and hopefully I get that straighten out in my bullpen."White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was back in the dugout after being suspended two games for tweeting comments about an umpire earlier in the week. Before the game, Guillen said he agreed with the suspension."I think it was a very fair one," he said. "I think it was good for baseball and myself and the integrity of the game. I think if MLB made any good moves in the last 20 years, I think that is a good one because they don't make too many good moves, but they did this time."Gavin Floyd (3-2) took the loss for Chicago, which got a pinch-hit homer from Adam Dunn in the eighth inning against reliever Jim Johnson. It was Dunn's first pinch-homer since April 20, 2003, at Montreal. It cut the Orioles' lead to 6-4.Orioles closer Kevin Gregg allowed a leadoff walk to Alexei Ramirez and a single to Carlos Quentin. He rebounded when Paul Konerko took a 2-2 pitch for a strike. After Alex Rios took a third strike, he got into an argument with plate umpire Cory Blaser, who threw him out.A.J. Pierzynski then grounded out to second to seal Gregg's fifth save of the season."We didn't have the big hit today," Guillen said. "At least we had somebody on base. That's the good sign. We make it interesting. We haven't been doing that for the last week and a half."The White Sox (10-19) have lost 15 of 18 and have dropped five in a row overall, seven straight at home and finished April with a club-record 18 losses. Chicago also trails Cleveland by 10 games in the AL Central."Just because you go out and play hard doesn't mean you're going to win or get the hit," Konerko said. "But over the long haul, you've got to believe you will. I believe I will and I believe the team will."Floyd allowed six runs on seven hits. He struck out five and walked two, and struggled through a five-run fifth inning.After setting a Baltimore franchise rookie record for the most the wins in April, Britton didn't have many problems against the struggling White Sox offense. His only mistake came in the fifth inning when he gave up a solo homer to Brent Lillibridge.Scott put the Orioles ahead with two-out solo shot in the fourth inning. It was his fifth of the season. Scott has homered three times in the last five games.In the fifth inning, Reynolds tagged Floyd with a leadoff home run to left-center. Felix Pie followed with a triple off the center-field wall. Floyd then gave up back-to-back walks to load the bases and Markakis cleared them with a double to left-center. Markakis later scored on Scott's single to make it 6-0."We just felt he (Floyd) was in a pattern there," Markakis said. "He went away from his fastball, he threw a lot of cutters, slider and curveballs, you can almost go up there and sit on an offspeed pitch. The more pitches you can eliminate the easier to hit."In the second inning with a runner on first and two outs, Orioles shortstop Robert Andino made a diving stop on Brent Morel's ball and then got up to throw him out at first."It all comes back to having confidence in my defense," Britton said. "I didn't have my good stuff, but I just threw it over the plate and let them hit to the guys and let them make the plays." Johnson came on with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning. He got Quentin to pop out, then after walking Konerko to force in a run, got Rios to ground out to third to end the inning.Notes: SS J.J. Hardy, on the 15-day DL with a left oblique, is scheduled to take batting practice in the cages on Monday and Tuesday then on the field Wednesday. ... White Sox left-handed hitters Pierzynski and Dunn were not in the starting lineup against Britton. ... The White Sox left 11 on.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

Derek Holland ends spring on strong note as White Sox down Dodgers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Derek Holland ended a productive spring with his best outing to date on Monday afternoon.

Healthy and excited to officially kick off his White Sox career, Holland delivered six strong innings in a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. The left-hander allowed two earned runs and five hits in six innings pitched, walking two and striking out one. Holland is expected to pitch once more in Milwaukee on Saturday before pitching in the third game of the regular season.

“Definitely feel good,” Holland said. “Feel very confident with everything, very happy with how the spring went. I worked on what we needed to work on to get myself ready for the season and stay healthy and I’m very happy with that. But most of all when you get out there and pitch, the defense, you have to keep them on their toes, and I thought the last out was the perfect example of that.”

Holland was referring to a nice diving catch by Jacob May that prevented at least one run from scoring. The longtime Texas Rangers pitcher was pleased to have established his fastball early and mixed in his offspeed pitches and changeup.

“I wanted to make sure we were going the distance,” Holland said. “I didn’t want to have a setback, and I thought we did a great job.”

The White Sox appear to have narrowly avoided one setback on Monday and are awaiting word on another. An X-ray on the left wrist of infielder Tyler Saladino was negative after he was hit by a pitch while getting in work in a pair of minor-league games. Saladino has been diagnosed with a bruised wrist.

The team is still awaiting word on pitcher Jake Petricka, who took a comebacker off his pitching hand in the seventh inning. Petricka exited the game, got his hand wrapped in ice and left to take an X-ray.

The White Sox are also waiting to learn the results of Carlos Rodon’s second opinion. Rodon was scratched from Friday’s start with a tight bicep tendon and had a physical exam and took an MRI, both of which showed he had no structural damage. Rodon traveled to Los Angeles early Monday for the second opinion with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Even if he receives the all clear, the White Sox will remain cautious, manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s almost like you have to re-start the process a little bit,” Renteria said. “It would be foolish to try to anticipate or push him into any direction without first of all ultimately having whatever the diagnosis is or the validation or whatever it might be of the second opinion. Once we get that, we’ll know hopefully tomorrow how we can ultimately proceed. I wouldn’t think we’d try to ramp him up quickly.”

The club also expects to have more clarity on the status of right-handed pitcher Juan Minaya on Tuesday. Minaya, who has been out since March 15 with an abdominal tear, was re-evaluated on Monday. Minaya had a 3.18 ERA and nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings this spring.

Matt Davidson also had two hits in the White Sox victory and drove in a run. Melky Cabrera hit a solo homer, his first of the spring. Yolmer Sanchez blasted his third homer of the spring, a two-run shot.

Zach Putnam struck out two in a scoreless inning.

With season a week away, Todd Frazier is 'right where I need to be'

With season a week away, Todd Frazier is 'right where I need to be'

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After he pulled the ball more than ever in 2016, Todd Frazier has worked to hit it the opposite way more often this spring. Even if he struggled.

But as the Opening Day nears, Frazier doesn’t want to cheat himself. Though he struggled last season, Frazier hit a career-high 40 homers. That kind of success means Frazier will continue to pull a pitch if it’s where he likes it. That approach led to a double and Frazier’s first home run of the spring in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Both balls were hit to left field.

“I’ve been working on a lot of things and sometimes when you work on something the results aren’t going to be there,” Frazier said. “But I still stay true to myself. And once we start getting going here, pretty close, close as can be -- it’s time to have those things in the back of your mind. But at the same time, you have to hit it where the pitch is and put in play. I was working on a lot of things. I was still trying to go right field, couldn’t get it out there. And now you go to what you know best and just react.”

According to fangraphs.com, Frazier hit 22.8 percent of all balls he put in play to right field last year, which is actually above his career mark of 22.5 percent. But en route to slashing .225/.302/.464, Frazier saw a second consecutive dramatic drop in the number of balls he hit to center. Of the balls Frazier put in play, only 28.5 percent went up the middle, down from 37.7 percent in 2014 when he produced a career-best wRC+ of 122.

To correct that trend, Frazier has worked to give himself a better chance to hit outside pitches the opposite way. Now that his focus is back on hitting to all fields, Frazier thought it was a good sign to homer with a week left before the season starts.

“It feels good,” Frazier said. “It’s showing I’m in the right place. It was a changeup and I’ve been out in front on a lot of those. I’ve got about 10 or 12 more at-bats before the season starts and it’s go time. Get back in the rhythm of things. Whatever you worked on, keep that there. If it’s outside now I have that weapon too as well. I’m right where I need to be.”