Colon has rare struggle vs. Rangers
White Sox bats silenced as righty's win streak ends
CHICAGO -- Two personal streaks came to an end for Bartolo Colon during Sunday's 7-1 shellacking administered by the Rangers before a crowd of 25,844 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Colon (2-3) had never made a start on Mother's Day in his 13-year career prior to Sunday's trip to the mound. The burly right-hander also carried a 12-game winning streak against the Rangers, the longest active winning streak for a Major League pitcher over one team, which quietly ended after he allowed five runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings while walking three and striking out four.
But one unchanged trend from the 2009 season for the South Siders seems to be the lack of success with the bats. Even with seven of the starters swinging pink bats in honor of MLB's "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative, the White Sox (14-16) could muster just one Carlos Quentin double over seven innings against Texas starter Vicente Padilla (2-2) and two hits for the game.
As a team, the White Sox scored four runs total during this series loss to the Rangers (17-14) and didn't hit one home run all weekend. Take away the five-run first inning hung on Detroit on Thursday night, and the White Sox plated a mere five runs across this abbreviated 2-2 homestand.
This brief stretch at U.S. Cellular Field ended with a less-than-inspiring-looking performance on an otherwise inspiring sunny May afternoon.
"Very boring day -- very no-life day," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Obviously when the team is not hitting, it looks like there's no life. That's the way I look at it. I don't see any life out there. I know when you struggle, it's not easy to get pumped up. When you're not having a good year or you have a bad day, it's not easy to smile and enjoy this game."
"We're definitely not anywhere close to hitting on all cylinders," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "We haven't all year. You just keep grinding. That's all you can say. We're not good right now, and we just need to get better."
Padilla walked four, including Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome to open the second. Konerko followed with a hard-hit ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who turned the grounder into an easy double play.
Dye scored on a wild pitch with Wilson Betemit at the plate, which emerged as the White Sox lone run. But according to Brent Lillibridge, whose 0-for-4 effort dropped his average to .164, Konerko's double-play grounder is symptomatic of the offensive problems plaguing the team.
"Start where Paulie hit into the double play, and if that ball goes a little to the left or right, it's a base hit and we score a run," Lillibridge said. "We really are hitting some balls good, but right at people.
"After that happens, we start to force things a little bit more. Then, you look up, and there's only one run or two hits later in the game and it wears down on you. All you can do is keep doing what we are doing and trust they are all going to fall at one point."
Texas' first hit came from Hank Blalock leading off the second inning, and it cleared the right-field fence for the first home run of this series. That blast prevented this weekend set from becoming just the second series of at least three games to be played at U.S. Cellular without a home run.
Chris Davis' eighth home run of the season led off the fifth and gave the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish. The 403-foot drive to center also started a four-run fifth, which brought an end to the afternoon for Colon, who struggled to locate within the zone by throwing only 52 of his 93 pitches for strikes.
"I felt strong, but the control was not there," said Colon, through interpreter Ozzie Guillen Jr., after losing to the Rangers for the first time since Aug. 16, 2003. "Obviously everyone saw that, but that was the only problem.
"The only pitch I regret, the only pitch that was a mistake, was the second home run. The first home run was a pitch I wanted. That's the only one I missed."
Unfortunately for Colon, Chicago missed on quite a few pitches against Padilla and relievers Jason Jennings and C.J. Wilson. The White Sox now move on to a seven-game road trip, facing one of the worst opponents by records in the Indians and one of the best by records in the Blue Jays.
With the way the White Sox are hitting, though, they can't be overly concerned about the other side. For a team that has been shut out a Major League-most five times, more offense would equal more life and, the White Sox hope, more victories.
"You need results right now. That's how it is," Lillibridge said. "We want to be patient, but we don't want to get stuck in a hole where we are winning one and losing another and then losing the series."
"Our hope is that once things start clicking, everybody starts rolling," said Thome, whose .198 average joined him with Lillibridge, Corky Miller (.182) and Alexei Ramirez (.198) as players in Sunday's lineup hitting below .200. "The bottom line is I don't think we've been swinging as a team like we are going to swing the bats."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.