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Tired White Sox struggle to play 'clean' in loss

Missed pitches, opportunities plague rebuilding team during learning experience
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- No gray area existed around David Robertson's pointed postgame comments Sunday, after Justin Upton tagged the White Sox closer for a three-run, walk-off home run and a 7-4 loss at Comerica Park.

"We didn't have a great showing here in Detroit," Robertson said. "It [stinks] to lose that one. It [stinks] to give up a walk-off. We pretty much played like [garbage] the last three days and it showed. We lost three games."

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CHICAGO -- No gray area existed around David Robertson's pointed postgame comments Sunday, after Justin Upton tagged the White Sox closer for a three-run, walk-off home run and a 7-4 loss at Comerica Park.

"We didn't have a great showing here in Detroit," Robertson said. "It [stinks] to lose that one. It [stinks] to give up a walk-off. We pretty much played like [garbage] the last three days and it showed. We lost three games."

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After losing three out of four games in Chicago last weekend, Detroit played like a team on a mission in extending the White Sox losing streak to five consecutive games. Chicago, by manager Rick Renteria's estimation, looked a little bit tired on Sunday in what was one of its least-clean games of the campaign.

Avisail Garcia banged out three more hits, three doubles in the eighth erased a 4-2 deficit and tied the game, and White Sox hitters drove up Justin Verlander's pitch count to 66 after two innings. On the flip side, the White Sox loaded the bases in each of the first two innings and scored only one run, stranding 11 during the game.

Video: CWS@DET: Garcia plates Cabrera to open scoring

Yolmer Sanchez committed a fielding error during a three-run Detroit sixth, and briefly bobbled a Miguel Cabrera double-play grounder with nobody out in the ninth, allowing Nicholas Castellanos to get to second two batters before Upton connected. Sanchez also was picked off of first with runners on first and third and one out in the fifth, while Jose Abreu and reliever Chris Beck missed connections on a pickoff throw to first in the sixth, allowing Upton to race to third.

Adam Engel was unable to get down a safety squeeze with the game tied, runners on first and third and one out in the eighth, and eventually struck out.

"In general, I thought we were just a little tired, a little lethargic," Renteria said. "Some of our actions were a little slow today.

"They're not trying to make mistakes, they're not trying to boot balls, they're not trying to get picked off. They're not trying to do all those things. They're not trying to miss executing on bunts. But it's something that we have to really learn from, because clubs that want to have success have to play clean baseball."

Sunday's setback dropped the White Sox to a season-low seven games under .500 at 24-31, but it's a record seemingly explained away by the organization's rebuild. It's great if the team succeeds, as it had to some level for much of the season's first two months, but that sort of rebuild logic doesn't work for Robertson.

"I don't play this game to lose. I go out there to win," Robertson said. "I'm supposed to get the job done, and I didn't get it done today."

Games such as Sunday, or this weekend as a whole, ultimately can become learning experiences for the young core of this team as it moves toward sustained success.

"Definitely something to learn from," White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said. "It could be the start of something good, so we have to keep playing and don't quit."

"Every mistake we make we can learn from," Renteria said. "And it will serve you better next time around."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox