Alexei ready to bounce back after Saturday's game

Alexei ready to bounce back after Saturday's game

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alexei Ramirez had trouble sleeping Saturday night. And that insomnia wasn't caused by the Blackhawks' exciting Game 5 Stanley Cup victory against Tampa Bay to move within one victory of the NHL championship.

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Instead, the player holding the second-longest current White Sox tenure on the roster couldn't get two miscues out of his mind that contributed to a 5-4 Rays' victory on Saturday.

The talented White Sox shortstop didn't get a ball out of his glove with Nick Franklin on third, one out and the infield in during the seventh inning, allowing Franklin to score the tie-breaking run. Ramirez's errant flip on a Jake Elmore infield hit in the eighth allowed Steven Souza Jr. to score all the way from second with the game-winner.

Ramirez was unavailable for comment postgame Saturday. He had plenty to say the day after, with the assistance of interpreter and White Sox Spanish language broadcaster Billy Russo.

"This last game was one of the tougher games for me this season," Ramirez said. "I couldn't sleep because I just was thinking on those two plays. But at the end of the day, it's baseball and you have to keep working on it and try to do the best today.

"I've been working so hard since Arizona, since the beginning of the season. Sometimes you can't control all the things that happen in the field, but I'm just trying to keep the focus on the work every day and try to be the best player possible. We need to win some games. We need to play better defense."

With a .978 fielding percentage, Ramirez ranks fourth in the American League among shortstops. His 4.52 range factor sits No. 1 at his position, and his 173 assists only trail Elvis Andrus. The White Sox still need more consistent play up the middle from their Gold Glove-caliber shortstop, and Ramirez hopes that play begins this week after Saturday's gut-wrenching miscues.

"It's tough to try to leave that game behind," Ramirez said. "I was watching the video a million times last night. I'll just try to do a better job today but it's tough to try to forget that."

"He's had days likes that and he's had streaks like that. He's also had streaks where he makes unbelievable plays," White Sox bench coach Mark Parent said. "Sometimes you get a little careless or lack of concentration or whatever and it bites you in the butt. I like to see a guy who cares and it really bothers him because it bothers everybody. You have to figure out what you did wrong and try and fix it. He's a veteran and he's our shortstop. He's been here a long time."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.