The White Sox played their infield in with one out in the first inning on Wednesday night.
Such is the state of an offense that continues to struggle that the White Sox put that much emphasis on a single run only three batters into the game.
Though they eventually snapped their scoreless streak at 30 innings, the White Sox couldn’t overcome another first-inning deficit in a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in front of 19,194 at U.S. Cellular Field. Aside from three first-inning runs, John Danks was very good, though it couldn’t prevent the White Sox from their sixth straight loss as Jeff Locke stymied them for six innings.
“You get tired of tipping your cap,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We're going to face pitchers just like this and we're going to face better ones. You have to be able to answer the bell and mount something that's going to be a little more than what we're doing right now.
“You have to be able to score.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
The way things have gone lately, the White Sox were right to pull their infield in with Josh Harrison on third, Andrew McCutchen at the plate and only one out in the first inning.
Not only had the White Sox not scored since the second inning Sunday, Pittsburgh had the left-handed pitcher Locke on the mound. Entering Wednesday, White Sox hitters had a collective .204/.246/.277 slash line with six homers and 32 RBIs against south paws in 486 plate appearances.
Just like the rest, Locke had White Sox spellbound for five innings. He retired the first nine hitters he faced and struck out seven batters through five, including the side in the second.
Plate ump Alfonso Marquez also helped in the fourth inning as Adam Eaton had second base stolen but was ruled out for interference by Melky Cabrera, who had stuck out.
“I was surprised,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “I tried to reach with my swing and just lost the balance. I think it was a bad call for the home plate umpire because I didn’t try to interfere with the play.”
Marquez threw Ventura out of the game for arguing the call, the 11th time he has been ejected in his career.
“We’re always on the wrong side of it,” Ventura said. “You get tired of that.
“We've had it before where Tyler's throwing and they say you have to make contact. I'm just tired of the interpretations.”
The White Sox collectively are fed up with their lack of offense.
They finally showed a pulse in the sixth inning when Eaton walked with two outs and scored on Cabrera’s RBI double down the left-field line -- his first extra-base hit against a lefty this season. Jose Abreu walked and Avisail Garcia singled as the White Sox trimmed a three-run deficit to 3-2.
[RELATED: Ventura gets tossed during Wednesday's loss]
The runs were the first put up by the White Sox since Carlos Sanchez singled in the second inning on Sunday. But Locke retired Adam LaRoche and the Pittsburgh bullpen delivered three scoreless innings to close out their third straight victory over the White Sox.
It’s the 34th time in 64 games the White Sox have scored three runs or fewer this season. The team is 5-29 in those games. Earlier Wednesday, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the team’s offense needs to start producing or changes would be on the way.
Danks looked as if he was in for a long night but rebounded.
He gave up an RBI single to McCutchen and a two-run homer to Jung Ho Kang.
But Danks retired 19 of 20 batters into the seventh inning. He allowed three earned runs and five hits with four strikeouts in seven innings.
“We are underachieving,” Hahn said. “It certainly wasn’t something we anticipated.
“There does come a point though where you can only look at the back of the baseball card for so long and say it’s going to get better. You need to start seeing some results on the field.”