When he discussed Conor Gillaspie’s performance on Tuesday night, Robin Ventura didn’t show a hint of anger.
After a 9-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field, one in which Gillaspie committed three errors, the overwhelming feel of the White Sox manager’s postgame press conference was one of empathy.
Gillaspie’s trio of mistakes and a wild throw that led to another error on first baseman Paul Konerko sent the White Sox -- who tied a season-high with four errors -- to their 11th loss in 13 games. The White Sox have committed 108 errors this season.
“It’s one thing if you don’t think he cares, but I know he cares,” Ventura said. “I’ve had nights that were just like it. It’s a rough one to take on, but I know he’s going to come back and effort and competitiveness, all that stuff’s still going to be there. It would be one thing if he didn’t care, but I know he cares a lot. He’s going to have to get over it. He’s a young player, it’s not easy, but he’s going to come back on it. Everybody has a night like that.”
Erik Johnson (0-2) didn’t get much help from his defense in his second career start.
Gillaspie’s first error, on a Miguel Cabrera slow chopper in the first inning, allowed a run to score and led to a second. Price Fielder followed with a single and Victor Martinez’s sac fly to left gave Detroit a 2-0 lead.
[SOX DRAWER: The White Sox feel your pain]
Both runs were unearned.
Fielder hit a line-drive home run with two outs in the third inning to give the Tigers a three-run lead. But after a hit and a walk, Gillaspie’s throw on Omar Infante’s grounder was off the bag and Konerko couldn’t corral it, leading to an error on the first baseman. Alex Avila followed with a two-run single to give Detroit a 5-0 lead.
Gillaspie’s throwing error in the fifth inning on Austin Jackson’s grounder also allowed a run to score and gave Detroit a 7-1 lead.
“Obviously it was very difficult tonight and I can honesty say that’s probably the worst I’ve ever felt playing defense,” Gillaspie said. “I can’t say that there’s too many days where I’m kind of hoping, ‘Hey, I hope the ball doesn’t get hit (to me).’ ”
Gillaspie -- who doubled, singled and drove in the White Sox only run -- entered the game with 13 errors.
Ventura removed him from the game for a pinch-hitter to start the bottom of the seventh.
“It’s inevitable that (the ball finds you),” Ventura said. “Again, I’ve had the same thing. It’s so hard to explain it to people and be able to come back from, but I know effort-wise and what he puts in, the work he does, he’s going to come back and he’s going to be fine. But it doesn’t make him sleep any better tonight.”
Johnson allowed six runs -- two earned -- in 3 2/3 innings. In two starts, Johnson has yielded 11 runs but only five are earned.
With 18 games to play, the team has yielded 70 unearned runs this season, 40 more than they did in 2012.