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White Sox go cold again when heat is on

Alex Rios trots home to score the White Sox's only run of the game on an Adam Dunn bases loaded walk. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

CHICAGO -- So that happened.

There seems to be a time during everybody’s day that the undesirable happens and the reaction varies from anger to frustration to amusement to exasperated shrug.

For the White Sox it happens every game and it almost always happens on offense.

That moment came Wednesday in the sixth inning against soft-tossing Bruce Chen and the Kansas City Royals. Entering the bottom of the inning, the White Sox had just one hit but loaded the bases on three consecutive singles.

There were no outs and a prime scoring chance presented itself, but the broken record kept playing the same old tune.

Brent Morel, the most anxious of No. 2 hitters, kept fouling off Ball 4 until he finally popped up a pitch out of the strike zone for the first out.

Embattled slugger Adam Dunn at least delivered a bases-loaded walk for the White Sox’s run.

But potential All-Star Paul Konerko then fell behind the count on off-speed pitches before striking out looking. Carlos Quentin ended the threat with a pop up toward third base.

“There is no perfect answer,” Konerko said about changing the trend. “Do what you try to do with nobody on. You can’t try to cover the whole plate so whether the guy is throwing a fastball in or slider out, whatever it might be, just stay dedicated to that plan throughout the at-bat. A lot of times as hitters we get 0-2 and stray from the original plan.”

That might have been what happened to Konerko. He went fishing on a slow breaking ball for Strike 2 and then watched a low fastball go right past him for the third strike.

“The best thing you can do is try to be dangerous on a pitch in an area and stick with it,” Konerko said. “If they throw to the other one and hit their spots, you’re going to sit down. But if they throw the pitch you’re looking for, you should be dangerous if you’re dedicated to it. Right now we’re trying to force everything and cover every pitch changeups away fastballs in and that’s what you get.”

Before the game manager Ozzie Guillen said he’s growing tired of the constant questions about Dunn. He could have said the same thing about the White Sox and their struggles with runners in scoring position.

“Maybe when you don’t score runs, it hurts a little more when your expectations are a little higher,” Guillen said. “We have great talent out there. We’re not producing the way we think we can produce. Obviously it’s frustrating when you come out and every inning you think you’re going to score a bunch of runs and you don’t. It’s been like that for a little while.”

Guillen has been preaching the value of relaxing at the plate, but as the struggles in clutch situations continue it only seems to add more stress.

“You try to look for the answer and you can’t find it,” Guillen said. “You try to grab something, and you can’t. The only thing you can do it tell those guys you have faith in them, you still believe in what they can do and move forward. Now is not the time to move backwards or point fingers at anybody. The production is not there. My expectation is to score a lot of runs every inning and we’re not doing it.”