White Sox

New month, same result; Sox drop fifth straight

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New month, same result; Sox drop fifth straight

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Posted: 4:15 p.m. Updated: 6:18 p.m.

Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) Zach Britton didn't need his best stuff to beat the White Sox's dismal offense.Britton pitched six strong innings and Nick Markakis hit a three-run double to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-4 victory Sunday.Luke Scott and Mark Reynolds added solo home runs for Baltimore, which has won five of its last six. The Orioles will try to complete a four-game sweep Monday night.Britton (5-1) allowed one run on five hits, struck out one and had three walks. The 23-year-old rookie left-hander lowered his ERA to 2.63. Britton was lifted after the sixth inning because of a callus that developed on his left middle finger."It's not a huge deal," said Britton, who had the callus removed. "I know Buck (Showalter) just said he wanted to kill it now before anything happens. It is something I get from the way I throw my sinker. It's kind of unique grip and it kind of give me a callus every now and then and it kind of happened today. They did a good job of taking it out. It's not really an issue, it's more of the weather, my hands are dry and that kind of stuff happens."The White Sox did have opportunities, but they squandered 11 baserunners."They are waiting for something to happen to get them on the right track," Britton said. "I felt like I gave them some good chances to get back in the game, walking guys when we were ahead in the game and that is a big no-no and I did that today which is frustrating. I have some stuff I need to work on and hopefully I get that straighten out in my bullpen."White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was back in the dugout after being suspended two games for tweeting comments about an umpire earlier in the week. Before the game, Guillen said he agreed with the suspension."I think it was a very fair one," he said. "I think it was good for baseball and myself and the integrity of the game. I think if MLB made any good moves in the last 20 years, I think that is a good one because they don't make too many good moves, but they did this time."Gavin Floyd (3-2) took the loss for Chicago, which got a pinch-hit homer from Adam Dunn in the eighth inning against reliever Jim Johnson. It was Dunn's first pinch-homer since April 20, 2003, at Montreal. It cut the Orioles' lead to 6-4.Orioles closer Kevin Gregg allowed a leadoff walk to Alexei Ramirez and a single to Carlos Quentin. He rebounded when Paul Konerko took a 2-2 pitch for a strike. After Alex Rios took a third strike, he got into an argument with plate umpire Cory Blaser, who threw him out.A.J. Pierzynski then grounded out to second to seal Gregg's fifth save of the season."We didn't have the big hit today," Guillen said. "At least we had somebody on base. That's the good sign. We make it interesting. We haven't been doing that for the last week and a half."The White Sox (10-19) have lost 15 of 18 and have dropped five in a row overall, seven straight at home and finished April with a club-record 18 losses. Chicago also trails Cleveland by 10 games in the AL Central."Just because you go out and play hard doesn't mean you're going to win or get the hit," Konerko said. "But over the long haul, you've got to believe you will. I believe I will and I believe the team will."Floyd allowed six runs on seven hits. He struck out five and walked two, and struggled through a five-run fifth inning.After setting a Baltimore franchise rookie record for the most the wins in April, Britton didn't have many problems against the struggling White Sox offense. His only mistake came in the fifth inning when he gave up a solo homer to Brent Lillibridge.Scott put the Orioles ahead with two-out solo shot in the fourth inning. It was his fifth of the season. Scott has homered three times in the last five games.In the fifth inning, Reynolds tagged Floyd with a leadoff home run to left-center. Felix Pie followed with a triple off the center-field wall. Floyd then gave up back-to-back walks to load the bases and Markakis cleared them with a double to left-center. Markakis later scored on Scott's single to make it 6-0."We just felt he (Floyd) was in a pattern there," Markakis said. "He went away from his fastball, he threw a lot of cutters, slider and curveballs, you can almost go up there and sit on an offspeed pitch. The more pitches you can eliminate the easier to hit."In the second inning with a runner on first and two outs, Orioles shortstop Robert Andino made a diving stop on Brent Morel's ball and then got up to throw him out at first."It all comes back to having confidence in my defense," Britton said. "I didn't have my good stuff, but I just threw it over the plate and let them hit to the guys and let them make the plays." Johnson came on with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning. He got Quentin to pop out, then after walking Konerko to force in a run, got Rios to ground out to third to end the inning.Notes: SS J.J. Hardy, on the 15-day DL with a left oblique, is scheduled to take batting practice in the cages on Monday and Tuesday then on the field Wednesday. ... White Sox left-handed hitters Pierzynski and Dunn were not in the starting lineup against Britton. ... The White Sox left 11 on.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

The White Sox lost Saturday night.

That’s baseball, of course, they’re not all going to be winners. And this rebuilding franchise has seen plenty of losses. But the feelings have been so good of late — whether because of Eloy Jimenez’s 400-foot homers or Lucas Giolito’s Cy Young caliber season to this point or a variety of other positive signs that make the White Sox future so bright — that losing Saturday to the first-place New York Yankees seemed rather sour.

Obviously there will be plenty more losses for this White Sox team before the book closes on the 2019 campaign. Back under .500, these South Siders aren’t expected to reach elite status before all the pieces arrive, and it would be no shock if they’re removed from the playoff race in the American League by the time crunch time rolls around in September.

But don’t tell these White Sox that an 8-4 defeat is a return to reality or a reminder that this team is still a work in progress. Even if, for a lot of players, development is still occurring at the major league level, the “learning experiences” that have been such a large part of the conversation surrounding this team in recent seasons and their daily goal of winning baseball games aren’t mutually exclusive.

“The Yankees are sitting in first place and they lost two games in a row,” catcher James McCann said Saturday night, providing a reminder of how the first two games of this weekend series went. “Just because you're expected to win and expected to be World Series contenders doesn't mean you're not going to lose ballgames. It's how you bounce back.

“And it doesn't mean you're going to win tomorrow, either. It's just, how do you handle a defeat? How do you handle a bad at-bat? How do you handle a bad outing, whatever it may be? But it doesn't mean that we step back and say, ‘Oh, we're back under .500, we're supposed to lose.’

“We expect to win when we show up to the ballpark. You can take learning experiences whether you win or lose. Do I think a game like tonight reminds us we're supposed to be in a rebuilding mode? No. We still expect to win, and we're going to show up tomorrow with that mentality.”

Maybe that’s a description of the much-discussed “learning to win” young teams supposedly need to do on the road to contender status. Maybe that can’t happen until a team figures out how to bounce back from a defeat — until it learns how to lose and how to act in the wake of a loss.

For all McCann’s certainty about the team’s expectations on a daily basis, his explanation was peppered with questions. He said he’s seen the answer to “how do you bounce back?” from this club, and his three-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday night was fairly convincing evidence that the White Sox didn’t use up all their fight just getting back to .500.

So while the White Sox know they won’t win every game — that no team will — they need to know how they handle defeat. Losing, it turns out, might end up being more instructive about when this team is ready to win.

“I think we've done a pretty good job (bouncing back),” McCann said. “You look at the road trip in Houston and Minnesota where we took two out of four from a good Houston team and then played really not very good baseball for three days in Minnesota only to come home and have an extremely good homestand.

“It's the big picture. It's not the very next day. It's not, ‘We've got to bounce back and win.’ It's not a must-win situation in the middle of June. But it's how do you handle yourself? How does a game like tonight, do you show up flat tomorrow and let it snowball into a three-, four-game spiral? Or do you fight?

“And that's what this team's been really good at doing is fighting and not giving in.”

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Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

The temperature is rising on the South Side, and if you look outside, you know it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Instead, it’s a heat wave coming from a fresh-faced 22-year-old slugger who’s crushing baseballs, igniting a fan base and screaming “Hi Mom!” to his actual mother whenever he spots a TV camera with its red light on.

Eloy Jimenez has arrived with the White Sox, and according to a New York Yankees All Star who has known him for years, the best is yet to come.

“Not this year, but next year, he’s going to be even better,” infielder Gleyber Torres said about Jimenez.

The two of them were signed by that team across town in 2013 when they were both 16 years old. They were practically inseparable back then, and they remain tight to this day.

“I talk with Gleyber pretty much every single day now. He’s kind of like my brother,” Jimenez said. “We haven’t lost that communication, and I think that’s good for us.”

Torres echoed similar thoughts about Jimenez.

“In my first couple years with the Cubs, he was my roommate every day. We’ve got a really good relationship. We’re like brothers. We are really good friends,” Torres said. “I’m just happy to see what he’s doing right now.”

Which, lately, has been just about everything.

There was that majestic home run Jimenez belted on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals that landed on the center field concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field, the two walks the next day when the Yankees decided to pitch around Jimenez as if he was a perennial All Star, and then the two-homer game on Friday: The first one gave the White Sox the lead, the second stuck a dagger into the Yankees, as well as the heart of his longtime friend.

“For sure, I didn’t like it,” Torres said with a smile about Jimenez’s two-homer, six-RBI game. “I’m not surprised. I knew Eloy before he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominican. He’s a big dude. The power is coming every day.”

How good can Jimenez be? Torres, who plays on a star-studded team with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, sees Jimenez reaching the same stratosphere.

“He can be a star for all of MLB. He’s just a young guy right now, but when he matures a little more, he can do everything.”

Jimenez is turning up the heat in Chicago, and it’s not even summer yet.

The South Side can’t wait for the sizzle to come.

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