The White Sox don’t even know how to win properly.
Practically none of the talk after Tuesday night’s 5-4 walkoff victory over the New York Mets, on the strength of Alexei Ramirez’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning, regarded the win.
Rather than celebrate Ramirez’s big moment after a tough stretch, White Sox players and manager Robin Ventura were left to lament another costly error in a yet another big spot.
Gordon Beckham’s run-scoring error with two outs in the ninth inning -- the result of poor communication on an infield popup -- cost Chris Sale a victory after a 13-strikeout performance and led to a blown save by Addison Reed.
Only because of Ramirez’s two-out single to left off LaTroy Hawkins (2-1) did the White Sox, who have won three of four, have anything good to reference.
“You win a game and you’re talking about the mistakes you make,” Ventura said. “You pat Sale on the back and say ‘good job’, but he doesn’t get the win for that. But Addy is still in a situation with a runner in scoring postion and gets the out and (Jeff Keppinger) does a nice job of getting on. Everyone does a nice job and you win, but everyone focuses on that because you have to clean it up.”
[Watch: Robin Ventura's postgame press conference]
Forget the mop and bucket; the White Sox need an industrial strength water pump to clean up this mess.
Reed was quickly in trouble as David Wright singled to start the ninth inning and stole second base. But Reed appeared to have found a way out of trouble.
He got a strikeout and a nice catch from Jordan Danks in center. Pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy then popped up the first pitch he saw.
Both Conor Gillaspie and Beckham charged toward the mound. Gillaspie appeared to be closer but Beckham called him off, stumbled over Reed’s foot and the ball fell harmlessly as Wright scored the tying run.
“Well I ran in there and screwed up,” Beckham said. “Stupid play for me. My heart was in the right spot, but mind obviously wasn't. It was loud. I screwed up. It is what it is. I'm glad we won. It didn't cost us the game, but it's a stupid play and I'm an idiot.”
Beckham’s not alone -- the White Sox season has been filled with similar mistakes.
[More: Ramirez takes advantage of White Sox sloppiness]
Through 74 games, the team has committed 54 errors.
Last season, the White Sox made a major-league low 70.
This year’s squad has also allowed 32 unearned runs in less than half a season after pitchers were charged with 30 in all of 2012.
The mistakes have now twice in a span of 11 days cost Sale -- who has lost four games in a row -- victories in games in which he struck out 14 and 13, respectively.
After a two-run first inning, Sale was sharp behind a fastball that hit 98 mph and averaged 96.5. He threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of 29 batters and had Mets hitters reeling with a three-pitch diet of fastballs, changeups and sliders.
Even with the pressure of a White Sox offense that has averaged a major-league worst run support of 2.69 per game, Sale was dominant.
He struck out the side in the fourth and sixth innings and got two apiece in the first, second and third. He needed only 110 pitches to complete eight innings.
“He pitched great, everything that you’d want him to do,” Ventura said. “… And it’s what makes this game tough. Everyone has to do his job to look right and to really feel good about it. It’s one of those everyone has to do his part. He did his part and we got to every one else doing it.”
The White Sox offense did its part on Sale’s behalf even though it didn’t have a hit with a runner in scoring position until Ramirez singled in Keppinger for the win.
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Down 2-0, Alejandro De Aza had an infield bloop single and a stolen base in the first inning. He came around to score on two grounders, including an RBI groundout by Alex Rios.
Two innings later, Tyler Flowers launched his seventh homer to tie the game.
The White Sox then rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the fifth on De Aza’s RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly by Ramirez.
But Sale, who hasn’t won since May 17, was done in by yet another unexplainable play.
His only focus was the end result.
“I don't think I've ever been disappointed after a win,” Sale said. “Stuff happens. It's definitely not the first time that's happened and it probably not the last either. Anytime you walk away with a win there's no reason to hang your head. My record is irrelevant. We got a win today, and that's all that really matters.”