Chris Sale made one mistake and lost because of it on Wednesday afternoon.
The White Sox struggled again to hit and hurt themselves on the bases in a 3-1 loss to the Texas Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field.
Sale allowed two runs and struck out nine over six innings, but it wasn’t enough as Nick Tepesch and three relievers held the Adam Eaton-less White Sox in check. Eaton exited in the second inning after he suffered a bruised lower back from running into the outfield fence at full speed trying to chase down one of two Adam Rosales home runs.
The White Sox offense, which didn’t score for 15 straight innings, didn’t do itself any favors with two early mistakes on the bases.
“We were successful getting that first guy on and (Tepesch) kept rolling that double play ball,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That was big one for him. Couldn’t move it over to the other side, just kept rolling over. It’s a rally killer and everything else, but it’s a big lift for him to be able to double us up that many times. We had some opportunities late with some guys on, just couldn’t get that big hit when you need one.”
Tepesch was able to make the big pitch as well as get some help from his defense.
He was aided by two White Sox base-running mistakes.
Alexei Ramirez singled with one out in the first inning but was picked off by Tepesch. Alejandro De Aza doubled to start the third inning, but was easily doubled off when Gordon Beckham lined out to second base.
Ramirez has been picked off or made an out on the bases nine times this season, per baseball-reference.com. De Aza has made eight outs on the bases.
“We’ve got to be better at that,” Ventura said. “You’ve got to be able to freeze right there. Especially when you’re down, you have to make sure it’s going through. We’ve got to be better at that and these are guys it seems to be happening over and over again.”
After 15 straight scoreless innings, the White Sox finally broke up the Rangers’ shutout when Dayan Viciedo hit a solo home run to right field off reliever Ramon Mendez in the seventh inning. Mendez came on and ended the sixth inning when he retired Jose Abreu on a line drive with runners on second and third.
The White Sox offense lost its catalyst in the second inning when Eaton knocked himself out of the game by running into the fence in right-center field at full speed as he tried to chase down Rosales’ two-run shot.
The White Sox announced Eaton left with a bruised back and X-rays were negative.
“I’ve never done that before,” said Eaton, who admitted it was a scary moment. “I’m a little embarrassed. But my back kind of took a beating a little bit there. I’m very happy that it wasn’t my head. I thought that I went into the wall pretty hard.”
Rosales hit two balls hard to account for all three Texas runs.
His two-run shot off Sale gave the Rangers the lead for good. Sale didn’t pitch poorly as he limited Texas to three hits, two walks and a hit batter.
But it didn’t make any difference with the White Sox offense in funk.
Sale threw strikes on 71 of 111 pitches.
“I was kind of sporadic through the whole game,” Sale said. “It's been the last couple starts where my fastball command's been kind of off. Just work on that between here and next week and hopefully be able to get a little bit deeper into the game next time.”
Rosales also homered off White Sox reliever Daniel Webb in the seventh inning to put Texas ahead 3-0. It was the first multi-homer game of Rosales’ career.