Sliding White Sox drop one late to Jays
Linebrink's struggles send Chicago to 10th loss in 13 games
TORONTO -- The White Sox had a different manager at the helm for Saturday's game against the Blue Jays, yet unfortunately for Joey Cora, the club performed no different on the field.
Replacing manager Ozzie Guillen, who is in Chicago for the graduation of his son, Cora was forced to watch the Sox hitters scuffle en route to a 2-1 defeat to the Jays at Rogers Centre. With the loss, Chicago (15-20) has now dropped three straight games and 10 of its past 13.
For most of Saturday's affair, it actually looked like the White Sox would end their losing streak at Rogers Centre, as they gained a 1-0 lead in the first inning and held it until bottom of the eighth.
But as has been the case lately for Chicago, things haven't always gone as planned. In the eighth, reliever Scott Linebrink gave up the tying and winning runs to Toronto (25-14), which sent the White Sox to their eighth straight defeat at the home of the Jays, dating back to 2007.
"We started 1-0 after the first inning and then we were holding on for dear life after that," Cora said.
That first run was scratched out when leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik opened the game by drawing a walk from Blue Jays starter Robert Ray. Podsednik advanced to second on a groundout and then proceeded to steal third base. Toronto catcher Raul Chavez's throw to third was off line and it sailed into left field, allowing Podsednik to easily score on the play.
Amazingly, the run gave Chicago its first lead at Rogers Centre since June 3, 2007.
But after that first inning, the White Sox lineup -- which was without Carlos Quentin, who was a late scratch because of a sore left heel -- struggled mightily against Ray (1-1). Chicago collected just three hits over eight innings against the right hander, who was making his third Major League start.
"At the end of the day, we didn't have enough runners out there," Cora said. "Their guy pitched great against us. It seems like everybody who is pitching against us is pitching great, but he did a good job attacking the zone."
White Sox third baseman Josh Fields agreed with Cora's assessment that the club was "holding on for dear life."
"I would say that's kind of how it was," Fields said. "That's kind of how it felt for us. I don't think anyone was giving at-bats away or anything, but it was just we're going through a tough time right now."
A tough time would be an understatement. Factoring Saturday's loss, the White Sox have now combined to hit just .224 over their past 13 games.
Fields also gave credit to Ray, who was not extremely effective in his previous two big league starts.
"He threw three pitches today, it seemed like," Fields said. "All three of them he was throwing for strikes and throwing well. When you get up there and you're looking for a certain pitch and he drops another one on you for a strike, it's kind of a tough day."
Ray was the benefactor of Toronto's rally in the eighth inning, when Chicago reliever Scott Linebrink entered the game looking to preserve a 1-0 lead. That didn't happen though, as Linebrink (1-2) allowed a single to Vernon Wells, who came around to score the tying run on an Adam Lind double. Jose Bautista's single to left field drove in Lind, giving the Jays a 2-1 lead.
"It's my job to come in and close doors, and I didn't get it done today," said Linebrink, who lamented the Lind at-bat.
Linebrink had an 0-2 count against Lind, before the lefty hitter worked it to 3-2. The at-bat lasted 10 pitches, five of which Lind fouled off, before he finally looped one into right field, driving in the tying run.
"The ball he hit was a breaking ball down and in, and he had seen a couple before that, so it just allowed him to get it out there," Linebrink. "With first base open, it's just one of those that you look back on it and think you had him set up. You had him where you wanted him, 0-2, and just didn't put him away."
Linebrink's performance ruined what was a stellar day on the mound for the Sox. Starter Bartolo Colon, who earned a no-decision, yielded five hits and two walks across his five scoreless innings. He was removed from the game after just 62 pitches, though, because of an upset stomach. When questioned through an interpreter in the visitors' clubhouse, Colon said he was OK and that it was nothing serious.
The right-hander was followed by relievers Octavio Dotel and Matt Thornton, each of whom provided a shutout inning, but to no avail.
"It's frustrating at this point," Linebrink said. "Especially when we battle on a day like today. We had great pitching up to the eighth inning. The team really needs a win like this. We're going to have to battle to just get on track."
David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.