Even after allowing seven runs and 16 hits, it looked as if the White Sox would have an opportunity to make a stunning comeback against the American League’s best bullpen.
But some questionable base running made sure the comeback wouldn’t get completed.
Carlos Sanchez and Dioner Navarro got mixed up in the midst of an eighth-inning rally, resulting in a double play that halted the White Sox comeback in a 7-5 loss to the Orioles on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
After the game seemed to slip away from the White Sox when reliever Tommy Kahnle allowed a 4-2 deficit to grow to 7-2 in the top of the eighth, the White Sox offense struck against Baltimore relief man Darren O’Day in the bottom of the inning. The Orioles entered with a 3.05 bullpen ERA, best in the AL, but the first three batters reached against O’Day, allowing two runs to score when Avisail Garcia grounded into a fielder’s choice and Baltimore second baseman Jonathan Schoop made a throwing error. Another run came home on Sanchez’s double two batters later, erasing the damage done in the top of the inning and restoring that two-run margin.
The rally, though, was halted in its tracks when Adam Eaton grounded out to first. Chris Davis made the play at first and then fired to third when base runners Sanchez and Navarro got mixed up, Sanchez having to hustle back to second after sprinting toward third and Navarro called out at third when he slowly retreated back to the bag.
After a review, the call was upheld: inning- and rally-ending double play.
Sanchez took the blame after the game, though it seemed there was enough blame to go around.
“It was my mistake,” Sanchez said through a translator. “That's something that is unacceptable. That can't happen again. It's my fault. … You have to keep your focus, and you have to know the game situation, the moment. Like I said, it's my mistake. It can't happen again, and it's not going to happen again.”
“They had the infield back in the middle, and Sanchy came down too far and it started pushing Dio out there. Sanchy has to know not to come down there on that,” manager Robin Ventura said. “It has to be up the middle for him to go.”
Of course — if you’re into playing the “what if” game — it was possible those runs could’ve given the White Sox a late lead if not for Kahnle’s woes in the top of the inning. He gave up a monster solo home run to Pedro Alvarez — his second of the night — and an RBI single to J.J. Hardy before exiting, after which Adam Jones tacked on another run with a sac fly.
Regardless, White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez admitted he had a little extra adrenaline flowing while facing his former team, and he surrendered four runs on 10 hits in his six innings of work. He gave up Alvarez’s first long ball of the evening and a two-run double to Manny Machado, and he was also present when Machado scored on a Tyler Saladino throwing error.
It was Gonzalez’s seventh straight quality start — at least six innings and three or fewer earned runs allowed — but he’s won just once during that stretch.
“It really meant a lot to me. And we came up short,” Gonzalez said of facing his former squad. “A lot of things went their way. It’s part of the game, a game of inches. Can’t do anything about it.
“I know what they are capable of doing. They have a great lineup. You can’t give in. You’re behind in the count, bad things are going to happen. They’re going to capitalize. That’s why they have a good team out there. Manny Machado, he’s been hitting the ball really good. I was behind in the count both times, and he was able to capitalize. You tip your hat to them, you move on.”
All in all, it was a night with some positives — Gonzalez with another quality start, Jose Abreu homering for the second time in as many days and Garcia driving in two runs to continue a recent hot stretch — but it didn’t result in a win, and the White Sox couldn’t build on Thursday’s victory in Detroit that snapped a three-game winning streak.
And so the White Sox have dropped six of their last eight games and have a 7-15 record since July 10.