NEW YORK -- To say Tyler Saladino's two-run, eighth-inning home run at Citi Field on Tuesday night saved the White Sox season would be a bit extreme.But after suffering seven straight losses, some of them remarkably gut-wrenching, it was a much-welcomed way for the South Siders to close out May
NEW YORK -- To say Tyler Saladino's two-run, eighth-inning home run at Citi Field on Tuesday night saved the White Sox season would be a bit extreme.
But after suffering seven straight losses, some of them remarkably gut-wrenching, it was a much-welcomed way for the South Siders to close out May in a 6-4 victory over the Mets.
New York grabbed a 4-0 lead through five innings behind Steven Matz, making rock bottom look as if it would go a little deeper for the White Sox. Even after cutting the lead to 4-3, manager Robin Ventura's crew had to deal with the excitement and the high velocity of Noah Syndergaard's first career regular-season relief appearance in a scoreless two-strikeout seventh.
That electric moment was topped by Saladino, who connected off of Hansel Robles' 2-2 fastball after fouling off two pitches and put the White Sox in control. Saladino felt good for his club as a whole when making that connection with Melky Cabrera on base.
"It was just a team hit right there," said Saladino, who reached base four times and stole second and third to help manufacture a run in the sixth. "Losing, it's tough on everybody. It weighs on you a little bit. You definitely lose a little bit of sleep. Getting the win, I mean, it's a boost of morale."
"I thought he was having great at-bats," said Ventura. "Good job by him. Good job by everybody. The easiest thing to do is to complain and not fight back, and these guys are continuing to grind, play hard. It can look bleak. You've got a guy like Matz pitching the way he's pitching, and you can just lay down, but they won't do it."
Part of that fight comes from Ventura, who according to Tuesday's starting pitcher, Mat Latos, had some brief words of postgame encouragement for the team over the weekend in Kansas City.
"Skip talked to us and told us not to give up," Latos said. "We're going to fight for each and every game."
"We've been playing hard, and things just haven't worked out," said White Sox closer David Robertson, who bounced back from Saturday's debacle with a perfect ninth. "If we hit well, we didn't pitch well, and if we pitched well, we didn't hit well. You just need things to work out for you, and today they did."
Robertson went as far as to wear his pants legs down over the shoes instead of the customary up, and he even wore a lighter-weight jersey made of a different fabric -- which, he admitted, was a bit uncomfortable.
"Listen, we're mixing it up," Robertson said. "We needed a win."
Now, the White Sox need to win a series, trying to snap a stretch of six consecutive losses in that category. The Sox may be without Saladino for Wednesday's rubber game, as Ventura reiterated postgame that Jimmy Rollins would get the call at shortstop.
But Saladino certainly did his part Tuesday night.
"Everybody shows up and keeps going through the routine, through the grind, getting ready for the game," Saladino said. "Everybody is in it the same way. Go out and play as hard as we can."
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.