TORONTO — Well, at least Jose Abreu extended his career-best hitting streak to 11 games on Thursday night.
But that was about the only White Sox highlight in a 7-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Adam Eaton left early with a leg cramp, Scott Carroll struggled into his return to the rotation but got no help from his defense as the White Sox played an all-around awful game on the way to their seventh loss in eight games. J.A. Happ struck out eight over 7 2/3 scoreless innings and the White Sox suffered their first blowout loss of an 11-game road trip that concludes Sunday. Happ and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout.
“That game just smelled right from the start,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We didn’t play very well, didn’t hit very well, didn’t play defense very well and it showed.”
“I hope it (flat). I hope it looked that way. It was. Hopefully it was getting in late and part of the whole travel thing. We’ll find out tomorrow.”
The White Sox should know more on Eaton’s status on Friday.
He said the combination of a long game Wednesday with a 69-minute rain delay in humid weather had him in bad shape before first pitch. The leadoff man was removed after one at-bat for precautionary reasons as Ventura was concerned Eaton was vulnerable to a longer-term injury had he stayed in the lineup.
Eaton said he must communicate better with his coaching staff about when he needs a day off.
“It basically crushed my legs,” Eaton said. “It didn’t look good, didn’t feel good. We’ll be kind of day-to-day right now is what we’re hoping for. They feel even better after some of the treatment.
“Hopefully we can deal with it today and get back hopefully. It’s been feeling great for a week or so, like it comes and goes. Last night kind of pushed ‘em back. Hopefully we’ll bounce back, I did almost kind of get an off day. Should be good tomorrow.”
Things really unraveled after that.
Carroll’s first start since May began with two ground balls that traveled a combined 110 feet. Both went for singles
Adam Lind, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, followed by ripping an 85-mph changeup for an RBI double. Right fielder Moises Sierra also made a throwing error on the play that allowed a second run to score.
An inning later, Jose Reyes tripled off the top of the fence in right-center to give Toronto a 3-0 advantage. Carroll, who had a 1.83 ERA in six appearances out of the bullpen, fell behind 5-0 when Lind singled in two more in the fourth with the bases loaded.
Carroll allowed five earned runs and nine hits over five innings.
“Obviously the first inning didn’t go the way you would want it to go to start the game,” Carroll said. “Looking back on it, we’ll have to look at the film and stuff and overall check it out. Overall I felt really good about my stuff tonight. I competed and was really aggressive in the zone and I felt like some breaks didn’t go my way, but that’s the game of baseball. I just have to get back to work and try and do better next time.”
The White Sox had several chances against Happ as they had the leadoff man reach second base in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings.
They came up empty each time.
Abreu singled in the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. But even he struggled in key spots, grounding out to third after Gordon Beckham’s leadoff double in fourth inning and flying out with two on in the eighth.
The defense was equally bad.
Garcia was charged with an error in the fifth inning when Dayan Viciedo dropped a Dioner Navarro fly ball (graciously ruled a doubled). Garcia retrieved the ball and threw wildly back to the infield, which prompted Navarro to go to third and after the ball got away again, he went for home. But Abreu retrieved the ball and fired a strike to the plate to retire Navarro.
“We didn’t play very well behind (Carroll),” Ventura said. “The first inning, you get a weird couple plays, they get a hit and it’s off to the races. We just have to play better behind him.”