White Sox bullpen falters in costly loss to Rockies

White Sox bullpen falters in costly loss to Rockies
April 9, 2014, 5:30 pm
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DENVER — The White Sox might have lost a much more than just a game on Wednesday afternoon.

The White Sox bullpen faltered in the eighth inning of a 10-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies in front of 22,745 at Coors Field. Three Chicago relievers combined to allow six singles and a double in a six-run inning that gave the Rockies a series victory.

But the White Sox may have suffered a much bigger loss in the sixth inning when outfielder Avisail Garcia left the game with a jammed left shoulder sustained while diving for a fly ball to shallow right. The White Sox announced Garcia would take an MRI on Thursday but preliminary X-rays showed no fracture, separation or dislocation.

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“Everybody’s got concerns but it’s still early,” Ventura said when asked about the bullpen. “My biggest concern is I hope (Garcia is) healthy, nothing’s wrong with him more than what’s going on. … Nothing is separated or broken or anything like that. But we’re going to get him an MRI tomorrow to figure out exactly what it is.”

A bullpen that entered Wednesday with a 5.91 ERA didn’t perform when it mattered most.

Maikel Cleto delivered 1 1/3 scoreless innings but his counterparts didn’t fare as well.

Scott Downs (0-2) allowed a leadoff single in the eighth inning to Justin Morneau and the Rockies followed with five singles off Ronald Belisario, before he left the game with a tight lower back. Carlos Gonzalez followed with a two-run double off Jacob Petricka to put the game out of reach.

Belisario said his back affected him before he entered the game but expects to be ready tomorrow. The right-hander, who allowed five runs, said the tightness kept him from finishing his pitches.

“That has happened a couple times when I was pitching here,” Belisario said. “I'll be fine tomorrow. I'll be ready to go tomorrow. I couldn't even raise like normally how I do.”

Garcia had trouble putting his shirt on after the game and needed teammates to help him. The outfielder said he’s in pain but is hopeful he’ll back in the lineup soon. He’s also encouraged that X-rays determined no serious injury.

“Hopefully its just pain,” Garcia said. “I want to be in the field soon, hopefully. I feel right now a lot of pain. Sore too. Hopefully everything will get better tomorrow. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Rookie Erik Johnson improved over his previous start last Friday but rarely found a rhythm in his 5 2/3 innings pitched.

Johnson struggled with command the first three innings as the Rockies turned six hits into three runs. The right-hander, who allowed seven runs in his first start, appeared to settle in when he retired six straight in the middle innings.

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But Morneau doubled to start the fourth inning and Dayan Viciedo misplayed the ball allowing Morneau to reach third. Johnson got consecutive grounders, including a nice stab on Charlie Culberson’s ball up the middle, to prevent Morneau from scoring. But D.J. LeMahieu’s low liner to right dropped out of the glove of Garcia after his diving try and went for a game-tying double. Garcia stayed on the ground for several minutes before he walked off the field with trainer Herm Schneider.

Johnson allowed four earned runs and nine hits with a walk and a hit batter. He struck out four.

The White Sox felt Garcia made the catch on the play but because he didn’t transfer the ball to his throwing hand the call wouldn’t have been overturned if Ventura asked for instant replay. Adam Eaton, who was charged an error for a similar play at home last week, said umpires explained that Garcia dropped the ball before showing he had completed the catch.

“They’re really taking it to the extent of you have to have your hand on it pulled out of the glove for it to be a catch,” Ventura said. “If he’d have held onto it a little longer, maybe.”

The White Sox stayed in the game while Johnson was on the mound. Tyler Flowers tied the game in the top of the second with an RBI single, his 12th hit of the season. Last April, Flowers had 11 hits in 20 games. Eaton then put the White Sox ahead 2-1 with a run-scoring, infield single.

Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Conor Gillaspie came through with a two-out, two-run single off starter Juan Nicasio to put the White Sox ahead. But five Colorado relievers combined for four scoreless innings to close out the victory.

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