It’s been a disappointing season for the Chicago White Sox.
And Saturday might have been the most disappointing day of them all.
The Sox had a five-run lead against the Texas Rangers after four innings with one of their top pitchers, Lucas Giolito, on the mound. Even after the Rangers cut the lead to one in the top of the fifth, the Sox responded with two in the bottom of the inning.
The Sox couldn’t hold the lead, falling 11-9 in 10 innings in front of 30,221 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Everybody was trying, all the hitters we’re trying, we got beat,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said.
The Rangers scored four runs in the top of the 10th, a half-inning that included chants of “Fire Tony” from portions of the crowd.
“I appreciate they want us to win, and when we don’t win they’re unhappy,” La Russa said. “I’m pleased that they are, you know? We have the team with what we have to win, and we’re losing games. Nobody in that clubhouse, including the manager and coaches, are happy. I like it when they (the fans) care enough to be upset.”
The Sox entered the season with high expectations after winning the American League Central in 2021. Instead, they are three games under .500 at 27-30 and in third place in the division, trailing the first-place Minnesota Twins by six games.
“I feel like we have all the talent in the world and we’re playing good baseball, we’ve been hitting the ball well as of recently,” Giolito said. “I’m disgusted in myself for today. That’s all I really can say. I go out and perform like I know I can, and we’re talking a lot differently right now.”
Giolito allowed four runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“Going out there for the fifth and just not executing, it just swings the momentum to their side,” Giolito said.
Injuries have been an issue for the Sox, and Saturday saw catcher Yasmani Grandal leave in the third inning with left hamstring tightness. Grandal went 2-for-2 and exited after he singled to right. He was being evaluated after the game, La Russa said.
Grandal had two hits and three RBIs in Friday’s 8-3 win against the Rangers. Grandal broke a tie with a two-run double in the eighth and the Sox scored five runs in the inning. He is slashing .185/.294/.237 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 50 games.
The lineup is already missing left fielder Eloy Jiménez (right hamstring tendon tear) and All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson (right groin strain). With Grandal and Reese McGuire the two catchers on the roster, a move is expected Sunday.
But the offense, which has been inconsistent throughout the season, wasn’t the issue Saturday. The Sox jumped on Martín Pérez, who allowed seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits in five innings and saw his ERA jump from 1.56 to 2.18.
“We are taking really good at-bats,” said designated hitter Jake Burger, who went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer. “You are seeing some good things and you see some guys starting to work counts. I think that bodes well going forward.”
Burger’s homer in the fourth gave the Sox a 5-0 lead.
The Rangers scored four in the fifth, including a three-run homer by Adolis García.
“When you have a lead like that getting to the midpoint of the game, that’s when it’s time to turn up the gas and keep riding, go deep, put up zeros, keep up that momentum,” Giolito said. “I swung it over to their side. But those stressful innings put the bullpen in a tough position. They had to cover a lot of innings.”
The Sox led 7-5 in the seventh when Kole Calhoun drove in a run with a one-out double against reliever Bennett Sousa. Calhoun advanced to third when Andrew Vaughn’s throw back into the infield skipped away and scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Liam Hendriks, Kendall Graveman and Aaron Bummer were among the relievers not available.
“The guys that pitched today were the guys that could pitch, nobody else was available to pitch,” La Russa said. “And we actually had to push, like (José) Ruiz. We were hoping (Matt) Foster didn’t have to pitch (Foster pitched Wednesday and Thursday). Because (Jimmy) Lambert did an outstanding job (2⅔ scoreless innings), but he got to a point too where he couldn’t go any farther without risking an injury.”
Foster allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits and a walk and did not record an out in the 10th. The Sox scored twice in the bottom of the 10th and brought the potential winning run to the plate with one out. Luis Robert popped out to first and José Abreu flied out to center.
The Sox have had some tough losses, seeing a six-run lead evaporate in the ninth inning against the Cleveland Guardians on May 9 among them.
That loss ended a six-game winning streak. Saturday’s defeat stalled the chance to continue gaining momentum after Friday’s big eighth inning. And it comes a couple of days after the Sox saw an early four-run lead disappear in an 11-9 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday in a game in which a sixth-inning intentional walk on a 1-2 count became a topic throughout baseball.
“Never have dodged accountability, and I won’t start now,” La Russa said.