White Sox hurlers surrender four homers to M's
SEATTLE -- The numbers for the White Sox over the past five games have gone from bad to worse to the squeamish should definitely cover their eyes.
With their 13-3 loss to the Mariners on Thursday night at Safeco Field to open a four-game weekend series and six-game road trip, the White Sox (55-61) have now lost three in a row and five of their last six. In their last five games -- four losses -- Robin Ventura's crew has been outscored by a margin of 51-12.
Minnesota, Texas and Seattle all have scored at least 13 runs against Chicago pitching during this run, with the Twins and Rangers hanging 16 on the South Siders.
"This hasn't been too good of a stretch," catcher Tyler Flowers said. "It's not fun."
"We just have to pitch better," said Ventura in an all-time understatement.
White Sox relievers have been the primary culprits of late, allowing 35 runs on 46 hits (eight home runs) over their last six games. Eric Surkamp, Daniel Webb, Andre Rienzo and Maikel Cleto pitched in Thursday's setback, with Surkamp the only one to escape unscathed.
Surkamp also faced just one batter, Endy Chavez, who laid down a sacrifice bunt.
Thursday's struggles began with Scott Carroll (4-7), who was charged with seven runs on seven hits over five-plus innings. He yielded a career-high three homers after giving up seven in his previous 86 2/3 innings.
Dustin Ackley launched a solo shot in the first. The ageless Chavez came through with a two-run blast in the fourth and another two-run homer came from Robinson Cano in the fifth. It certainly looked as though Carroll's sinker was not sinking.
"I just didn't execute, and if you don't execute pitches down in the zone at this level, that's what they're going to do," said Carroll, who threw 50 of his 94 pitches for strikes. "[If I] keep the ball down … I'll get good results. But if you get pitches up in the zone, that's what's going to happen."
"Right now we are having a hard time getting ahead of hitters, getting ourselves in situations where we are throwing less-predictable pitches," Flowers said. "Opponents and everybody at this level, if you give them a better idea of what's coming, it's increasing their chances. We've done that a fair bit recently."
Ackley put the game out of reach during a three-run sixth, with those three runs scoring on just his one hit, as he lined a two-run single past third baseman Conor Gillaspie with two outs and the bases loaded. Ackley entered that at-bat hitting .563 with the bases loaded for his career.
There wasn't exactly an abundance of offense put up against the Mariners (60-54), with Roenis Elias (9-9) holding the White Sox hitless for the first four innings. Paul Konerko drew a one-out walk in the second, but the White Sox didn't have a hit until Gillaspie's one-out double in the fifth.
Dayan Viciedo ended the shutout in the sixth, launching his 15th homer of the season into the stands in right-center. That long drive came after Elias hit Jose Abreu just above the left elbow with an 0-2 pitch.
Abreu was hit again in the top of the eighth, this time by Danny Farquhar. Cleto retaliated with his first pitch in the bottom of the eighth by hitting Kendrys Morales, earning warnings to both benches and eventually leading to the ejection of Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon.
Kyle Seager followed the Morales hit-by-pitch with a two-run homer, the Mariners' fourth homer of the night. Ventura said that no intent was involved with Cleto's pitch.
"If he can spot that good, we wouldn't have been in the trouble we were in," Ventura said.
"I get it. I understand baseball," McClendon said. "I get all of that stuff. Your guy got hit twice, my catcher got hit [by Carroll in the sixth]. I get all of that stuff. But if you thought he threw at him, then he should be ejected from the game. Not a warning."
Any thoughts of the White Sox sneaking into the American League's second Wild Card spot have all but disappeared.
"When you have a stretch like this, it's tough to stay super confident," Flowers said. "It's going to take one game, and all of a sudden, we'll be right back at it. We just have to keep grinding through this. We just have to figure out a way to put some runs across, get a little momentum and who knows? We'll rattle off four or five in a row."