CLEVELAND -- After rallying for five runs and a ninth-inning victory Wednesday night at Progressive Field, the White Sox knocked out Cleveland starter Danny Salazar after one inning in Thursday evening's series finale.
They held a three-run lead after that first, turned four double plays behind starter Carlos Rodon and used a stellar defensive play from Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu to stop a sixth-inning rally. And the White Sox still ended up on the wrong end of a 5-4 final against the American League Central leaders.
Thursday's setback gave the White Sox a 4-5 record on this three-team, nine-game road trip, during which manager Robin Ventura's crew played solid baseball overall.
But solid baseball not translating into victories has left the Sox with a 57-63 record and sizeable division and Wild Card deficits to overcome in a mere 42 games.
"Yeah, just an emptiness leaving all these parks," said White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, after his team slipped to 20-24 in one-run games. "It's tough."
"Definitely an empty feeling," Rodon said. "We are leaving it all out there, and sometimes it just doesn't happen. Everyone is giving 100 percent, everything they've got, and it just isn't happening. That's a team that's on a good run, and they got luck on their side, and they are playing well."
Tyler Naquin pinch-hit for Perez -- who had worked a 1-0 count before giving way to Naquin -- and hit the next pitch to center for the game-winning sacrifice fly. It was more of the same for the White Sox since a 23-10 start that seems like long ago -- struggling within the division, and featuring an offense that is producing, just not enough.
"As hitters, we have to just keep going," Frazier said. "We have to get them out of slam range. Get up by more than four runs. That would have been nice. Their bullpen did their job, kind of, and we added a couple on there, but it wasn't enough there at the end."
"We've been in a lot of these games. We've lost some late," Ventura said. "Today you get the early lead, and you can't hold onto it. That part of it is tough. You've got to be able to do more with that once you get the starter out as early as we did."
Only two road trips remain for a team with a 28-37 record away from home. The Sox begin a nine-game homestand Friday, missing the momentum that began late Wednesday and could have carried into the weekend.
"We could have had two of three here with a little momentum going in against Oakland," Frazier said. "We are going to get in late tonight and with a sour taste in our mouth."