CHICAGO -- The game-tying home run the Chicago White Sox gave up in the ninth got the most attention. But a plethora of other miscues ended up being the biggest problem Tuesday and is a major concern moving forward.
The White Sox have struggled all season to put together a solid brand of baseball, and in Tuesday’s 7-5 defeat to the Toronto Blue Jays in 10 innings all of their issues surfaced.
There was poor base running, untidy defense and shaky play that might have been brushed aside if Addison Reed had been able to put a ninth-inning slider where he wanted. Instead, Reed’s 1-2 pitch with two outs was up in the strike zone and crushed for a towering homer by the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista.
The White Sox went on to the lose the game when reliever Ramon Troncoso gave up one run in the ninth inning on a wild pitch and another when catcher Tyler Flowers couldn’t handle a throw to the plate to make a tag.
“It’s my job to get those three outs and I didn’t do it,” Reed said. “Offense, pitching did everything to get the ball in my hands in the situation we wanted it. We had the lead and I came in and left with it tied, so I feel it’s all on me, and I’ll take full responsibility for it.”
It was a noble gesture to fall on the sword, but there were plenty of others responsible for what happened.
Alexei Ramirez, Conor Gillaspie and Flowers all made errors. Flowers had a second-inning passed ball that allowed a run to score. There was Troncoso’s wild pitch that Flowers couldn’t corral with a backhand.
There also were baserunning issues galore, including those by Ramirez (doubled off second base on a line drive); and Gordon Beckham (last out of the inning at third base); and Alejandro De Aza (picked off first base); and Dayan Viciedo (thrown out trying to advance on a ball that got away from the catcher).
“It was one of those where we kept shooting ourselves in the foot, running the bases,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Any time you lose like that, it doesn’t feel good. You come down and you get the last strike, especially the way it went earlier, it’s one of those for [Reed]. He’s human and it’s going to happen.
“You figure it’s going to happen eventually, but you just never like it when it happens. He should have had a bigger cushion than that. That’s the way it goes.”
The White Sox were poised to break things open in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. But Paul Konerko struck out and Dunn lined into a double play, with Ramirez well off the bat at second.
After that a lively White Sox offense began to slumber as Blue Jays pitchers retired 14 of the next 15 batters.
“It’s been worse than that,” Ventura said of all the mistakes. “You do that and you still have a chance to win the game. We’ll address it and come back [Wednesday].”
The White Sox were so close to their second four-game winning streak of the season. Now they’ll try to start a new streak a day after one of the sloppiest games of the season.
“I think it’s just a matter of winning a few games in a row and not letting this one get us down,” said Matt Thornton, who used an eighth-inning double play to get himself out of a pitching jam. “Get a win (Wednesday), go into the off day and go on the road and play well there.”
“We’re going to lose games the rest of the way,” he said. “But it’s a matter of stringing a bunch of wins together in between those losses.”