NEW YORK -- The White Sox played for a run late in Monday’s contest and the strategy backfired.
Looking to break a scoreless tie, the White Sox called for a bunt with No. 3 hitter Melky Cabrera at bat with two on and none out. Cabrera executed the bunt perfectly, but surrendering the extra out proved costly as the White Sox couldn’t come through against New York Mets starter Matt Harvey.
Half an inning later, Neil Walker homered off Jose Quintana and the Mets sent the White Sox to their seventh straight loss with a 1-0 defeat in front of 38,339 at Citi Field. Quintana lost for the fifth time in 10 decisions despite limiting New York to a run and six hits in seven innings. The White Sox have lost 15 of 19 and are now just two games above the .500 mark.
Three years after he dominated the White Sox at Citi Field, Harvey played the same note once again. But unlike the 2013 season when Harvey, who at the time was the hottest pitcher on the planet, one-hit the White Sox, he entered Monday with a number of questions surrounding whether or not he belonged in the majors.
Yet at no time over the first six innings did Harvey resemble a pitcher carrying a 6.08 ERA. He retired the first 13 men he faced until J.B. Shuck singled with one out in the fifth. Harvey was efficient and throwing hard, striking out six through six innings and walking none.
But the White Sox finally got Harvey on the ropes in the seventh when Adam Eaton drew an eight-pitch walk to start the inning. Jose Abreu followed with a seeing-eye single to left to bring up Cabrera.
Cabrera squared to bunt on the first pitch and took a ball. He bunted again on a 1-1 offering, which moved the runners into scoring position. But the play also took the bat out of Cabrera’s hands. Harvey then retired Todd Frazier on a foul pop out to first base and Shuck grounded out to end the threat.
After Walker’s homer off Quintana gave New York the lead, Mets relievers Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia set down the final six men in order.
Quintana made it clear early on he was up to the challenge against Harvey. With his team in need of another big start, Quintana had it going early, striking out the side in the second inning and four straight batters.
He pitched out of a fourth-inning jam with a double play and limited the Mets’ chances until the seventh. Even after the Walker homer, Quintana pitched out of another jam, stranding two to keep the White Sox within striking distance.
He walked two and struck out seven.