OAKLAND, Calif. -- The White Sox haven’t been able to conceal their frustration much these last few days.
Who can blame them?
An offense that has slumped all season long has ratcheted up the intensity of those failures this week. On Sunday afternoon that meant the wasting of another strong outing from a White Sox starting pitcher, this time Chris Sale. Sale allowed one run but Jarrod Parker and three Oakland A’s relievers combined on a three-hit shutout of the White Sox in a 2-0 game in front of 23,413 at the Oakland Coliseum. The White Sox, who struck out 11 times on Sunday, have now been shut out three times during their season-high six-game losing streak.
“I’m not exactly sure what it is,” said No. 3 hitter, Conor Gillaspie. “(Parker) threw the ball good. Maybe it’s us. I don’t know. It seems like everyone we face throws all his pitches for strikes. He did a good job, you tip your cap. I don’t know what else to say right now. …I don’t know. Maybe I’m living in a dream world. I don’t think we’re playing well now, which is obvious.”
They haven’t hit well, that’s for sure.
In their last 11 games, the White Sox have scored 29 times. They haven’t homered since last Sunday and on Friday became the first team to be shut out by a 40-year-old pitcher (Bartolo Colon) since 2007.
Sale pitched well enough to earn his sixth victory as he allowed four hits and walked and hit one batter over six innings. But it was all for naught as Parker (4-6) became the latest in a long line of starters to dominate the White Sox.
He struck out seven batters over 6 1/3 scoreless innings and limited them to two hits and two walks. Relievers Jerry Blevins, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour combined for 2 2/3 shutout innings with four strikeouts.
The White Sox hope to get a boost from the return of Gordon Beckham on Monday. Beckham, who hasn’t played since April 9 after he sustained a broken left hamate bone, is expected to join the team in Seattle and be activated off the 15-day disabled list.
“It has to come from somewhere,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You mix it up. You just get tired of saying the same stuff every night, as far as struggling and Sale pitched a good game. It’s tough to be a pitcher when you can’t give up a run.”
Sale (5-3) hadn’t allowed a run in 28 innings before he yielded one in the bottom of the sixth.
He looked pretty sharp in his first full start since May 17.
The left-hander, who had missed one start with mild shoulder tendonitis before his last effort was rained out, hit 94 mph on the radar gun in an 11-pitch first inning.
Sale put a man on base in each of the next four innings, but was able to keep his streak intact long enough to surpass J.J. Putz, who completed 27 straight scoreless innings in 2010.
The streak was the longest by a White Sox pitcher since Wilson Alvarez went 31 innings in 1993.
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Despite the close defeat and the deafening silence of another losing clubhouse, Sale offered his teammates a vote of confidence.
“Don’t think for a second I’ve lost faith or anybody else in here has lost faith in what we can do and what we know we can do,” Sale said. “This kind of stuff is going to happen. ... We’re going to bounce back. We have the guys. We have the mentality. We have the coaching staff. We have all the right pieces in all the right places. It’s just a matter of turning around and some good luck and some good hops.”
Ventura believes the same.
He just wants those questions answered in quick fashion after a team that reached the .500-mark last Sunday has dropped to 24-30 overall.
“Eventually, it’s on us,” Ventura said. “You got to figure out a way to get out of it. Nobody is going to help you or feel sorry for you. It’s on us to figure it out.”