A week ago the red-hot White Sox had optimism as they began the second half with a crucial six-game homestand.
If any of those hopes or dreams still remained, Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals has likely dashed them all. Yadier Molina’s two-strike, two-out, three-run triple in the top off the eighth inning off David Robertson in front of 30,046 at U.S. Cellular Field sent the White Sox to their fifth loss in six games to start the second half and sixth in seven overall. John Danks pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings for the White Sox in the losing effort.
“I thought it was a great pitch,” Robertson said. “(Molina is) a really good hitter. I thought I was going to be able to beat him with it. But he did what good hitters do, he found a hole in the outfield, put a good swing on it and drove in all three runs and I ended up with a blown save.”
“I feel like sometimes luck’s just not on our side.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
The White Sox took a two-run advantage into the eighth inning as Danks and Jake Petricka provided seven scoreless innings to start.
But Zach Duke and Robertson couldn’t hold it as the White Sox lost for only the third time in 31 tries when leading after seven. Randal Grichuk singled off Duke and the left-hander hit Matt Holliday on his back foot before battling back to strike out Jhonny Peralta. Duke evened the count on Jason Heyward at 2-2 with a foul ball but Heyward was awarded first base on catcher’s interference against Tyler Flowers to load the bags. Robertson took over and Molina somehow kept fair a 2-2 fastball on the outer edge for a bases-loaded triple into the right-field corner.
The loss not only wiped out a sterling effort by Danks, who allowed five hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings, it dropped the White Sox to 42-50 with the trade deadline quickly approaching.
“We have to win ballgames,” Danks said. “There’s not really any time left. We have to go. I feel like we have played better than our record shows this first week, but at the end of the day it’s all about wins and losses. We have to do better.”
Three St. Louis relievers combined on the final six outs to close out a two-game sweep of the White Sox, who lost three of four games to Kansas City over the weekend.
Rumors have increased over the past few days as the White Sox have fallen further and further out of contention. Jeff Samardzija is the biggest name on the trade block and his teammates know it.
“I would hate to see somebody go,” Danks said. “It’s part of it and we have nobody to blame but ourselves, but we definitely don’t want to see anybody go. We have a pretty tight group here. We know what we’re capable of. It’s just a shame we haven’t played up to expectations to this point.”
Left-hander Kevin Siegrist struck out Adam LaRoche with runners on the corners to end the eighth inning and Trevor Rosenthal pitched a perfect ninth inning.
The White Sox grabbed a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning on consecutive RBI singles by Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera off Lance Lynn. At the time it looked as if Danks was headed for a second consecutive victory. Danks has pitched 12 2/3 scoreless innings in his past two starts.
“It was tough when Johnny pitches like that,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He was fantastic tonight, command, changed speeds, everything. I thought he was great.
“You tip your cap to those guys. We’ve had some guys at the back end of the bullpen that have done the job, but tonight it didn’t happen for us.”