Disappearance of clutch hitting led to fade

CHICAGO -- When the Chicago White Sox look back upon on their collapse in the final weeks of the 2012 season, they’ll likely point to their lack of clutch hits as the main reason why.

On Sunday, it was more of the same story for the White Sox. They were able to put runners on against Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, but they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities and lost 6-2 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Sunday’s low-scoring output marked the 12th time in 13 games that the White Sox scored less than five runs. Over that span, they have totaled 34 runs, were 12-for-90 with runners in scoring position, had a 3-10 record and saw their American League Central lead slip from a three-game advantage to a three-game deficit.

Prior to their offensive slump, the White Sox scored 31 runs and won four out of five games from Sept. 12-17.

“We haven’t hit at the right time,” White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham said. “The effort was there and unfortunately it didn’t go our way the last couple of weeks.”

For most of the White Sox’s hitters, September has been a frustrating month at the plate. Adam Dunn is hitting .204 with three home runs and six RBIs. Paul Konerko has hit .231 with four homers and 10 RBIs. Kevin Youkilis is hitting .218 with three homers and eight RBIs. Dayan Viciedo has a .227 average with three homers and 11 RBIs. A.J. Pierzynski is hitting .233 with three homers and five RBIs.

Alex Rios has been the one hitter to really excel this month and has hit .320 with five home runs and 14 RBIs.

“Scale 1-10? It’s obviously a 12,” Dunn said of his frustration level. “We played so well for so long and had ourselves in a great position. One of the things that got us here was doing the little things, hitting guys in, things like that. But when it came down to it late in the year, we couldn’t do it.

“This game isn’t easy first off. When you are putting added pressure on yourself more than you can probably have to, I think you saw the result.”

Price, a Cy Young candidate, didn’t give the White Sox many chances Sunday, but there were enough for them to feel they should have scored more runs.

In the fourth inning with the Rays leading 3-0, the White Sox loaded the bases with one out. Dayan Viciedo then flew out to deep center field to bring in one run, and Alexei Ramirez grounded out to end the inning. The White Sox were 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base.

“We had our chance obviously with the bases loaded there and one out,” Pierzynski said. “Viciedo hit the ball real hard, and we were hoping it would get over his head and might score three, but it didn't. We fell behind early again, it seems to be a common theme here. We tried to fight back, just not enough.

“We didn't play good enough. The effort was there, the work was there, everything was there. We just didn't get it done. It's one of those things, you can always look back and point at this or that. Like I said, I'm proud of this team the way they fought and the way they went about it every day. It's a sign of good things to come.”

Youkilis said, “It’s part of the game. It sucks. It sucks collectively that we didn’t play as well as we could have. It’s an unfortunate situation.”