PITTSBURGH -- The first action from Monday's series opener between the Pirates and White Sox at PNC Park featured Adam Eaton hustling to first to beat out a routine grounder bobbled by second baseman Josh Harrison for an error. That moment stood as the high point of an 11-0 loss to the Pirates, sending the White Sox to their fourth straight loss on this five-game road trip.
"After that, I don't know what we did well. We didn't do anything well after that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's that simple."
"It went downhill pretty quick. Tough loss," Eaton said. "We've got to erase it and move forward, fast forward. Things have been tough, but we're baseball players and professional and we have to put it behind us."
Simply put, the White Sox (28-34) did nothing well in a loss that leaves them tied for their season-worst at six games under .500. Their only hits off of Francisco Liriano and Rob Scahill were a Melky Cabrera roller up the middle leading off the fifth and an infield single from Alexei Ramirez in the seventh. They struck out 13 times -- with 12 coming against Liriano -- and fell to 4-7 against left-handed starters.
Their error total increased by three, while the Pirates picked up two more stolen bases and left White Sox catchers and pitchers at 5-for-46 in nailing would-be basestealers this season. Then there was rookie starter Carlos Rodon (2-1), who probably stands as the least of the White Sox concerns on a forgettable night.
Rodon entered with a streak of 11 scoreless innings and promptly gave up five runs on five hits in the first frame. After throwing 83 sliders combined in his last two starts, Rodon threw only 13 in this start, according to Brooks Baseball. He worked more fastball/changeup, and the fastball was not effective.
"Fastball command wasn't too great," said Rodon, who allowed seven runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings, while striking out three and walking one. "Leaving balls over the plate and balls were getting hit. That was a good hitting club. It's the big leagues, anybody can hit."
A game such as this usually can be dismissed as just one of those off nights where everything goes awry. Unfortunately, for a White Sox team with high expectations entering the season and subpar results thus far in-season, these sorts of tough losses have become too commonplace.
This team has been outscored 58-19 in the first inning, including Monday, setting a tone for trouble right from the start.
"We're not doing anything to threaten anybody on offense," Ventura said. "We have to do that to stay in this. Our propensity to give up runs in the first inning and not score is going to be difficult. These guys have to find a way to grind and find a way to do it."