NEW YORK — Tyler Saladino delivered a sweet — and long overdue — sound to the White Sox on Tuesday night.
The shortstop capped off a career game with a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the White Sox rallied from four down and snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the New York Mets in front of 32,781 at Citi Field.
Saladino’s homer off reliever Hansel Robles lifted the White Sox to their first win since the opening game of a May 23 doubleheader. He reached base a career-high four times as he also singled, walked twice and stole two bases. David Robertson capped off four scoreless innings from the bullpen with his 13th save.
“It’s huge,” Saladino said. “Losing, especially losing up here, that’s tough. It’s tough on everybody. It weighs on you a little bit. You definitely lose a little bit of sleep. But getting the win, I mean it’s a boost of morale.”
They needed the boost in the worst way.
Losers in six straight series, the White Sox appeared headed for a seventh as Mets starter Steven Matz dominated them early. They trailed 4-0 through five innings. The White Sox showed a much-needed sign of life with a three-run rally off Matz in the sixth.
Several days after manager Robin Ventura addressed them following a loss to the Kansas City Royals, the White Sox completed their comeback off Robles and two Mets relievers in the eighth.
“It can look bleak,” Ventura said. “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.
“You’re down 4-0, I think a lesser group rolls over and just gives up and they won’t do that.”
With one out and Melky Cabrera on first after a leadoff walk, Saladino fouled off three straight Robles fastballs before he ripped a 2-2 heater out to left field for a two-run homer to put the White Sox ahead for good. Saladino — who also had a three-run homer in Saturday’s loss at Kansas City — briefly looked into the visiting dugout as he rounded third.
“I’m just so pumped for the guys to take the lead,” Saladino said. “You got to give it to them. This is a team and everybody is pulling for each other. Every time you do something good, everybody is there ready to high five. It was just a team hit right there. Felt really good for the guys rounding third.”
The White Sox continued to apply pressure in the eighth as Robles walked pinch-hitter Jimmy Rollins and stole second, the team’s fourth of the game. Adam Eaton also walked again and Brett Lawrie jumped on the first pitch from Logan Verrett for a two-out RBI single and a critical insurance run.
Matz had the White Sox stymied in the early going. He induced nothing but grounders in the first few innings and didn’t allow a hit until the third. Matz, who entered with a scoreless streak of 14, cruised through the fifth inning, too.
But trailing 4-0, the White Sox finally broke through in the sixth inning.
Jose Abreu singled off the glove of James Loney and Todd Frazier crushed a two-run homer to left-center field, his 16th. After Avisail Garcia grounded into a double play, Saladino kept the inning alive with a walk. He easily stole second and third base before Navarro chased Matz when he singled just over the shortstop’s glove to get the White Sox within 4-3. Matz allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three.
Pitching on seven days rest, White Sox starter Mat Latos didn’t have it easy in the early innings.
He allowed two unearned runs before yielding a two-run homer in the third to fall behind 4-0. But Latos finished strong, retiring eight of the last 10.
He handed it off to the bullpen, a group that allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in Kansas City. The group took a big step in the right direction as Zach Putnam, Dan Jennings and Nate Jones all put up zeroes to get the ball to Robertson.
Robertson said Ventura merely implored the team to keep fighting, something it displayed in each loss at Kansas City before the bullpen’s meltdowns.
“That’s the way our whole team has been thinking,” Robertson said. “We’ve been playing hard, and things just haven’t worked out. 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.”