Sox fading in Central Division race

Jake Peavy did his part with 7 1/3 solid innings on the mound, but the White Sox offense struggled. Jerry Lai/US PRESSWIRE

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox's playoff chances are fading quickly after another offensive meltdown Thursday evening.

The 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays was similar to many of the team's failures during this losing streak that has consumed the club. Chicago has lost eight of their past nine games and has seen a lead of three games become a deficit of two in the American League Central Division in just 11 days.

Robin Ventura’s team had the bases loaded with nobody out in both the fourth and fifth innings and only managed to score once in each. The lack of run production took the zip out of a stellar performance by starter Jake Peavy, who allowed just two runs in 7 1/3 innings and suffered a no-decision.

"Jake was pitching great," Ventura said. "He had given us everything that you need [to win]. Tonight it was about if you don't execute you are not going to win."

The Sox, of course, did not execute, and once again were awful with men in scoring position going 1-for-8 at the plate and are now 9-for-73 in their past 10 games as they have gone 2-8.

They had a man on first and nobody out in the eighth inning and failed in two areas to do the little things. Pinch-runner Jordan Danks was called out on an appeal play when he failed to touch second base after running past the base on a fly ball. Danks failed to touch second on the way back to first base. That play was preceded by pinch-hitter Dewayne Wise failing to get a bunt down to advance Danks into scoring position.

"If you don't do the fundamental things you aren't going to win," Ventura said. "It is that simple. We had opportunities late. We did not do the fundamental things and it has been for a while now that we haven't done the things to be successful."

Peavy, who may have pitched his last home game as a Sox starter, took the blame for not pitching better. In reality he did a good job of holding down a hot Rays team that has now won eight straight games. The Sox hold an option of buying out the pitcher's $22 million contract for $4 million. Peavy and his teammates are seemingly seeing their once hopeful season slip away.

"I think everybody will take accountability for the way we played," Peavy said. "We had it right there in front of us a lot of tonight and the last week and a half. We just have not been able to do it."

The Tigers and Sox still have six games each to play, but Detroit's magic number is now at five.