Mat Latos received plenty of runs early on Tuesday night and couldn’t hold the lead.
Afterward, he didn’t go very easy on himself.
Latos squandered two leads and his bullpen couldn’t slow down the Washington Nationals as the White Sox lost their fourth straight, falling 10-5 in front of 18,812 at U.S. Cellular Field. The team’s 19th loss in 25 games has it at the .500 mark for the first time all season. Latos (6-2) walked four batters and allowed six earned runs in 4 1/ 3 innings. Todd Frazier homered in the losing effort.
“I just felt like I was kind of fighting against myself mechanics-wise or whatever,” Latos said. “I walked, what? Three, four, five, six, seven, I don’t know. I just walked a s**t-ton of people. It was just a piss-poor effort, period, on my half.”
“I could care less about my ERA, strikeouts, you know, my own personal wins. The team gives you a lead like they did today and to just flat out blow it is absolutely pathetic.”
Twice it appeared as if the White Sox were in a good spot to begin a three-team homestand properly. No moment was bigger than when Frazier’s two-run home run in the second inning cleared the center-field fence to put them ahead 5-2. After a second RBI on a sac fly by Jose Abreu, who earlier singled in a run, Frazier jumped on a 3-0 fastball from Joe Ross and blasted it 408 feet for his 19th homer.
But Latos -- vying for the final spot in the rotation along with Miguel Gonzalez now that James Shields has been acquired -- couldn’t hold the lead. Latos intended to bounce a 1-2 split-fingered fastball to Anthony Rendon and instead caught the bottom of the zone with the hitter driving it out to left for a two-run shot to get Washington within a run.
In the fifth, Washington’s first three batters reached base (though leadoff hitter Michael Taylor was caught stealing) as Latos continued to struggle. He allowed a single on each side of his fourth walk of the night and yielded to reliever Dan Jennings.
Bryce Harper’s two-run double off Jennings put Washington up 6-5.
“You start out, their guy's struggling, get some runs and you give those back,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That's the part that takes the wind out of you. They hit the ball, too. But the free passes are going to come back to haunt you.
“You can't go out there and just give them those free passes.”
Latos previously surrendered the two-run lead he received in the first inning. He walked leadoff man David Murphy and issued a one-out free pass to Ryan Zimmerman. Rendon doubled in a run and Danny Espinosa made it 2-all with an RBI groundout.
Since he began the season 4-0 with 0.74 ERA, Latos has a 7.25 ERA and completed 36 innings over seven starts. He has allowed 50 hits, walked 18 and struck out 19 in that span.
“Struggled a little bit mechanics-wise,” Latos said. “I don’t even know. Horse-s**t performance, period.”
The night only got worse.
Along with a Tyler Saladino error, Matt Albers and Zach Duke combined for two walks, a hit batsmen and three hits (one courtesy of a Saladino double-pump that resulted in a single) and let the Nationals pull ahead 10-5. The inning lasted 32 minutes.
The White Sox offense had some similar lengthy efforts early against Ross, who lasted only four innings. Abreu singled on an 0-2 pitch from Ross after consecutive walks by Adam Eaton and Austin Jackson in the first to put the White Sox ahead 1-0. J.B. Shuck also had a bases-loaded walk to put his team up two.
Latos surrendered two runs in the second as Washington tied the game. But Abreu’s sac fly put the White Sox up 3-2 and then Frazier homered.
If the type of loss looked familiar it’s because it has happened quite frequently to the White Sox in this tail spin. They held leads in all three games in Kansas City before losing and had similar occurrences against Texas and the New York Yankees.
Now a team that once held a six-game lead sits in fourth place in the American League Central.
“We’re on the wrong side of things and it seems like we’ve been on it for the last couple weeks,” Eaton said. “We can’t just dwell on it. We have to be big boys and nobody is going to help us. Nobody is going to help us. We have to do it ourselves. Put a good foot forward and get going.”