MILWAUKEE -- For the first four innings of a 10-7 loss Monday night at Miller Park, the White Sox did not hit a ball out of the infield against Wily Peralta.
So their comeback from a 6-0 deficit to knot the score at 7 in the eighth stood as a welcomed sight for a team that has struggled offensively all season. The problem for the South Siders is that the rally became necessary by more of the same defensive shortcomings in the early going and a somewhat uneven outing from starter Jeff Samardzija.
Micah Johnson had a Gerardo Parra grounder jump over his glove in the first for a hit, followed by an Alexei Ramirez fielding error and an inability to turn a double play on Adam Lind's grounder. Carlos Gomez then connected on a two-run homer off of a hanging slider, but Samardzija could have had a perfect first with a little help.
"It's the way the game goes sometimes. You have to bear down and pick your teammates up," said Samardzija, who allowed five earned runs (seven total) over six innings while fanning six. "You've got to make your pitches, in the first inning or eighth inning."
"We played poorly at the beginning of the game to get us into that situation," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We've got to catch the ball. We have to do a better job of doing that, and pitching, doing better than that."
Two White Sox infield hits through four innings transformed into 12 hits from the fifth through the ninth. That stretch included a run of line shots in the eighth to score two and tie the game against Brewers reliever Jonathan Broxton, a run which still might be going if not for Gomez's stellar running catch of Melky Cabrera's blast to center with two runners on base.
Adam Eaton broke out of a season-long slump with four hits and his first two RBIs. But Zach Duke, who carried a scoreless streak of 10 innings into Monday, allowed two home runs in the eighth to cap the Brewers' game-winning rally.
When one part of the White Sox game steps up, such as the offense, a reliable one such as the bullpen suddenly has a momentary lapse. That's how things have gone, especially on the road, where the White Sox have lost seven straight, sit at 2-12 overall and have been outscored 89-44.
"You have to find a way to win games on the road," Duke said. "That's all there is to it.
"We did a good job today, especially in the second half of the game," said Cabrera of the offense, through interpreter and White Sox Spanish language broadcaster Billy Russo. "They won today, but there are still two games left in the series, and we are in a good position to come back tomorrow and win that game and then Wednesday's game, too."
Hope and confidence stand strong for the White Sox. Better defense and improved starting pitching would take them much further.
"There are times when you do need to battle and fight, and it's always good to have that in your team. We definitely have that," Samardzija said. "But we definitely need to not make this harder on ourselves."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.