CLEVELAND — The spiral has lasted 36 games and the White Sox still haven’t discovered an escape route.
Sunday’s chapter involved another disheartening loss as the White Sox fell 3-2 in 10 innings to the Cleveland Indians in front of 25,269 at Progressive Field. Two days after they were felled by a walkoff homer, Jose Ramirez completed a three-game sweep of the White Sox with a two-out RBI single off David Robertson. The White Sox — who finished with five hits — have lost 26 of 36 contests and dropped to a season-worst three games below .500. The White Sox trail the Indians by 5 1/ 2 games.
“It’s like we can't get any good luck to go our way,” Robertson said. “I wish there was a magic answer. We’re scuffling. There’s no doubt about it. We’re not a bad team. We’re just not playing well right now. We’re just not having things go our way, and it’s a tough stretch.”
Robertson said he didn’t do himself any favors as he allowed a leadoff double to Rajai Davis in the 10th. Davis advanced to third on a Jason Kipnis sac bunt and that’s when the White Sox got creative. Not only did they intentionally walk Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli, the White Sox brought in a fifth infielder for a play.
Robertson retired Friday’s hero Carlos Santana on a foul out to third and the White Sox returned to a normal defensive alignment. But Ramirez singled past Jose Abreu, who misplayed an in-between hop, for yet another deflating loss for the White Sox.
“The bounce was farther than what I expected and my only alternative was to try to dive back (lunge back) to see if I could catch the ball,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “It was a very tough play.”
It was yet another instance this weekend where the White Sox found themselves in a trying position because of their continued offensive woes. Jose Quintana was in line for a loss Friday even though he only made one mistake because the team’s struggles. The onus shifted to Carlos Rodon on Sunday as the White Sox couldn’t break through for more than a run against Carlos Carrasco.
The White Sox jumped ahead of the Indians early as Tim Anderson and Abreu doubled with one in the first inning to put them ahead 1-0. But Carrasco retired Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier, who continues to slump.
The White Sox pulled back ahead 2-1 in the fourth inning on a solo homer by Cabrera. But Carrasco otherwise kept them in check. After he induced a double play earlier in the fifth, Carrasco worked around a two-out error by Kipnis when Abreu grounded out with two on. He also stifled earlier opportunities with double play balls in the second and sixth.
Bryan Shaw got Carrasco out of trouble after a one-out double by Adam Eaton in the eighth as Abreu popped out and Cabrera grounded out.
The White Sox only had multiple base runners in three of 10 innings.
“They’re tough,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They have some great pitching. You have to take advantage of your opportunities. You’re going to end up having them cost you.
“If you don’t cash them in, you’re going to pay for it.”
Rodon turned in yet another strong performance as he struck out a season-high eight batters.
The left-hander peppered the zone with strikes and worked ahead in the count, walking only one batter in a 99-pitch effort.
He twice surrendered the lead, but Rodon didn’t break even though he faced several tight situations. The left-hander stranded two runners in the first inning with a strikeout of Jose Ramirez and dodged a hairier situation in the third.
Davis doubled to start the inning and stole third. But Rodon struck out Kipnis, got a grounder to short by Lindor and then struck out Santana to strand runners on the corners.
Juan Uribe tied it in the fourth with a solo homer. But Rodon retired nine of the last 11 batters he faced. He has a 3.25 ERA over his last six starts with 34 strikeouts in 36 innings.
“We have to keep grinding and find a way to (score) more runs,” Abreu said. “I don’t know why or what’s the reason, but we weren’t able to score too many runs in this series. That’s baseball and it’s tough, but we have to find a way to score more runs, because we are wasting some very good games.”