Blunder on bases, late call go against White Sox

Navarro ends rally by getting thrown out at third in eighth inning

Blunder on bases, late call go against White Sox

CHICAGO -- The primary highlights from the first 7 1/2 innings of Baltimore's 7-5 victory over the White Sox on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field came from starter Miguel Gonzalez facing his friends and former Orioles teammates and a pair of mammoth Pedro Alvarez home runs.

By the time the opener of this three-game series and abbreviated White Sox homestand came to a close, though, there was a key baserunning blunder to talk about and a couple umpire rulings contributing to the end of the South Siders' four-game home winning streak.

That blunder came from Carlos Sanchez in the eighth, when the White Sox had cut a 7-2 deficit to 7-5 and had runners on second and third with one out. Adam Eaton hit a hard ground ball to first baseman Chris Davis, who stepped on first before firing to third baseman Manny Machado to nail Dioner Navarro, who was retreating back to the base after taking a couple of steps toward home.

Navarro was forced to move home because Sanchez had moved toward third on contact, which was not supposed to happen, according to White Sox manager Robin Ventura.

"They had the infield back in the middle, and Sanchy came down too far, and it started pushing Dio out there," Ventura said after the White Sox dropped to 7-14 since the All-Star break. "Sanchy has to know not to come down there on that. It has to be up the middle for him to go."

Sanchez answered the postgame questions with directness and candor, taking full responsibility for the inning-ending mishap.

"It was my mistake. That's something that is unacceptable. That can't happen again. It's my fault," Sanchez said through interpreter Billy Russo. "It's not difficult because we are professionals.

"You have to keep your focus, and you have to know the game situation, the moment. Like I said, it's my mistake. It can't happen again, and it's not going to happen again."

Ventura challenged the out call by third-base umpire Marty Foster, but the ruling stood despite Navarro looking as if he had snuck back into third. That two-run deficit remained in the ninth, when Zach Britton struck out Tyler Saladino and Melky Cabrera to open the frame. He also fanned Jose Abreu, but Abreu reached first on a wild pitch to keep the game alive.

Britton, who converted his 36th consecutive save, jumped ahead in the count on Justin Morneau, before Morneau hit a game-ending grounder to Davis. The only issue was that Morneau didn't move out of the batter's box because he thought the ball hit his right foot in the box.

The umpiring crew didn't agree and the play was not subject to replay review, despite arguments from Ventura and Morneau. So another tough White Sox loss came to an end in a rather unique fashion.

"That's odd that you see a guy do that, and he doesn't get it, especially a guy like Justin," Ventura said. "He has played a long time, and I've never seen him pull anything like that. That part becomes a little frustrating. Very rarely is that called a fair ball and you just go with it."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.