OAKLAND -- The White Sox came to Oakland hoping they had left their ice-cold situational hitting behind in the snows of Minnesota.But not even a trip to California did much to heat up the bats, as A's starter Daniel Mengden all but silenced them in a 8-1 Chicago loss in
OAKLAND -- The White Sox came to Oakland hoping they had left their ice-cold situational hitting behind in the snows of Minnesota.
But not even a trip to California did much to heat up the bats, as A's starter Daniel Mengden all but silenced them in a 8-1 Chicago loss in Monday night's series opener. The hitting struggles spoiled a third straight quality start from right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who allowed two runs and struck out 10 over six strong innings but took his second loss of the season.
"I think I've done a very good job," Lopez said through an interpreter. "I just try to go deep into games, try to complete six innings, and keep the team in the game. I just try to give the team a chance to win some games, and at this point, I think I'm very happy with my job."
Chicago's lone run came on a Jose Abreu homer in the ninth that chased Mengden and spoiled what could have been the right-hander's second career shutout. Adam Engel had a pair of singles and was the only White Sox hitter with multiple hits.
Lopez's 10 strikeouts were one shy of his career high set Aug. 18, 2016, when he was with the Nationals. He capped off his outing by striking out the side in the sixth.
After blowing his fastball by Matt Olson and Matt Chapman for a pair of K's, he reared back for a Statcast-measured 97.5 mph fastball that Stephen Piscotty swung through on Lopez's career-high 106th pitch of the night.
"Today, I felt really comfortable with my fastball from the beginning," Lopez said. "I knew that their plan was to find my breaking pitches, and that's why I was just hitting the strike zone with my fastball. I felt really, really good about that pitch today."
He scattered only four hits in those six innings, but they were timely hits by the A's: a solo homer by Olson in the fourth on a fastball that missed over the heart of the plate, and a two-out RBI double by Khris Davis in the fifth. Oakland tagged the Sox bullpen for six late insurance runs, aided by a season-high four Chicago errors.
The slumping Yoan Moncada singled and stole second to lead off the game, but he was left stranded at third. It was a sign of things to come, as the White Sox went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-9 with runners on base.
Chicago looked to finally break through in the third inning, when Abreu sliced a sinking line drive to center with Engel on third, but a diving catch by Mark Canha -- one of two highlight-reel catches by the A's center fielder -- kept the White Sox off the board.
The Sox are now 3-for-52 (.058) with runners in scoring position in their last seven games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Canha robs Abreu: With the Sox already off to a 0-for-4 start with runners in scoring position, Abreu finally looked to snap Chicago out of its situational-hitting funk with two outs in the third, when he lined a 2-1 fastball into center field that seemed as if it would drop in and score Engel from third.
But Canha sprinted in and made a diving catch on the sinking liner to rob Abreu of an RBI single. The grab was rated three stars by Statcast™, which calculated that Canha had an opportunity time of 3.3 seconds to cover 41 feet. It was Chicago's final at-bat of the game with a runner in scoring position.
"Those will start to fall," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "As long as the approaches and the contact that the guys make are what they should be, over the long haul, they'll start to fall. Things will start to happen, and all you can do is continue to grind."
Compounding errors: The Sox remained in striking distance entering the seventh, down just 2-0 thanks to Lopez's strong outing, but three Chicago errors in the seventh inning allowed the A's to tag relievers Luis Avilan and Danny Farquhar for three insurance runs as Oakland pulled away.
A leadoff walk to Jonathan Lucroy was followed by a fielding error by Abreu on a sacrifice-bunt attempt by Matt Joyce, putting runners on first and second with none out. After a single by Marcus Semien loaded the bases, things only got worse for the Sox when a grounder to short got past both shortstop Tim Anderson and left fielder Leury Garcia, plating two runs.
"I continue to be very proud of our club and the way they go out and play the game," Renteria said. "But today was a game that was sprinkled with a lot of little things that weren't pretty."
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (0-2, 8.68 ERA) and Chicago will be clad in baby-blue 1968 throwback uniforms Tuesday as the Sox and A's celebrate the 50th anniversary of baseball's arrival in Oakland with a free-admission game for fans. Trevor Cahill is slated to make his first start for the A's since 2011.
"I think in today's age, there's so many things young kids and people could be doing, so it's cool to have people come out for America's pastime and enjoy a baseball game," designated hitter Matt Davidson said.
Do-Hyoung Park is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.