White Sox fall in extras after giving up lead late
Defensive miscues prove costly as Chicago allows lead to slip
CHICAGO -- To place the blame upon White Sox closer Addison Reed for a 7-5 Blue Jays' victory in 10 innings Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field is somewhat akin to blaming an actor appearing in the final two or three scenes for a poorly constructed movie overall.
Yes, it was Reed who gave up the game-tying homer to Jose Bautista on a 1-2 high slider with two outs in the ninth for the right-hander's second blown save in 21 attempts. But the White Sox (28-35) had made countless mistakes before that pitch to keep the game close, and a few after Bautista's connection to complete the comeback for Toronto (28-36).
"He should have had a bigger cushion than that. That's the way it goes," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of his team's rough overall effort. "Any time you lose like that, it doesn't feel good."
"Once again it's cleaning the game up and playing it the right way and continue to work hard," said White Sox reliever Matt Thornton, who pitched out of a first-and-third, nobody-out jam in the eighth to set up the ninth for Reed.
Some of Tuesday's mistakes were born out of aggressiveness. Some of them have been happening far too often during this disappointing 2013 season, with Ventura mentioning postgame the White Sox have had worse games than this one.
But not by much, if so.
The White Sox committed three errors, with Alexei Ramirez's fielding miscue on Mark DeRosa's leadoff grounder in the second leading to a pair of unearned runs. Catcher Tyler Flowers was charged with an error in the 10th when Maicer Izturis scored an insurance run from first on Munenori Kawasaki's double to left off of Ramon Troncoso (0-1), with the relay throw beating Izturis until he knocked the ball loose from Flowers' grasp.
Flowers said postgame that he never had control of that throw, trying to catch it up the line on the in-between hop. Despite knocking out two more hits to raise his average to .222, it was a tough night defensively for the catcher who was charged with a run-scoring passed ball in the second and then couldn't slide over to knock down a wild pitch from Troncoso that allowed Rajai Davis to score the winning run in the 10th.
"I didn't get a good read on it," said Flowers of Troncoso's wild pitch. "I'll take the heat for that."
Add in four White Sox players getting thrown out on the basepaths, including Ramirez getting doubled off second on an Adam Dunn line drive to close out a bases-loaded, nobody-out threat in the fifth without a run off of Chien-Ming Wang, and the mistake total hit an alarming nine for the night. It's sort of amazing the White Sox were in position to win, but thanks to a three-run homer from Conor Gillaspie to cap off a four-run fourth, the White Sox were one strike away from matching their season-best of four straight victories.
Then, Bautista connected off of Reed, who stood up and took responsibility for the setback, although it was an unnecessary placement of fault.
"My job is to get those three outs and I didn't do it," Reed said. "Offense, pitching did everything to get the ball in my hands in the situation we wanted. We had the lead and I came in and left with it tied, so I feel it's all on me, and I'll take full responsibility for it."
"When I have two strikes, I'm trying to swing at a strike and I was lucky enough that he hung me a slider," said Bautista of the game-tying blast to left. "If you were to ask him I'm sure he'd say that's not where he wanted to throw that pitch."
Jose Quintana fanned five and gave up just two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings, marking the sixth time this season the White Sox left-hander has allowed two earned runs or fewer. Dunn homered in back-to-back games for the second time this season and raised his average to .293 during the month of June.
Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen had to retire Dunn as the potential game-winning run in the 10th after Alex Rios singled and Paul Konerko walked with two outs. Dunn battled through a seven-pitch at-bat before grounding out to Izturis.
With Detroit's victory over the Royals, the White Sox dropped back to eight games out of first in the American League Central and remained in last place. Until they get to .500, though, it's hard for the White Sox to worry about any team except for the one they are playing on a given night.
Until they can consistently play better baseball for a couple-week stretch and avoid games like Tuesday, even that .500 goal will seem like a lofty one.
"Our offense did a good job of keeping us in the game. Pitching kept us in it," Flowers said. "We just kind of found a way to lose again."
"It's just a matter of winning a few games in a row and not letting this one get us down," Thornton said. "We're going to lose games the rest of the way. We're going to lose a bunch of games the rest of the way. But it's a matter of stringing a bunch of wins together in between those losses."