White Sox lacking key hits in tight loss

White Sox lacking key hits in tight loss

CLEVELAND -- The White Sox had scoring opportunities during a 2-1 loss in 10 innings to the defending American League champion Indians at Progressive Field Tuesday afternoon.

Not many, but enough to potentially end the series opener in regulation. In the end, the Indians simply were a little better, which stands to reason in pairing a favorite to repeat in the AL Central against a team in the early stages of a rebuild. That logic doesn't make the loss any more palatable for the visitors.

"Our goal is to win every game and to be in every game," said reliever Nate Jones, who threw a scoreless eighth. "We have accomplished that so far, just being competitive and being in the game, an opportunity to win each game. We are excited about that. Hopefully we'll be on the winning side of those games here soon."

"Our starters are doing a great job of giving us a chance to win every night, and we just have to put it together," said James Shields, who allowed one run on two hits over 5 1/3 innings with six strikeouts. "That's it, bottom line. Unfortunately we've been on the losing side more than the winning side."

Shields' solid start

Weather elements prevented Tim Anderson from giving the White Sox a 3-1 lead in the sixth when his long drive to left off of Carlos Carrasco with Tyler Saladino on second was turned by the wind into a long fly ball. The wind apparently helped the White Sox in the eighth when right fielder Abraham Almonte couldn't corral pinch-hitter Matt Davidson's deep double off of Andrew Miller.

Catcher Geovany Soto was waiting on first to see if the ball could be caught, and wasn't able to score. With runners on second and third and one out, Saladino's line drive was snared by third baseman Yandy Diaz's diving attempt with the infield in, and Anderson struck out.

Diaz's fine diving catch

Using a pinch-runner for Soto might have allowed the White Sox to take the lead, a move manager Rick Renteria considered.

"I thought about it, but opted to keep him there and keep managing the pitching through the tight game," Renteria said. "Not that I don't have confidence in [Omar Narvaez], but he's already been managing it through that situation. I don't know even if I have somebody else that it ultimately leads to a run. It could have, but I didn't think about it further."

Zach Putnam and Jones shut down a pair of bases-loaded, one-out situations in the sixth and eighth innings without allowing a Cleveland run by inducing two around-the-horn double play grounders from Edwin Encarnacion. Michael Brantley's walk-off, two-out double against Tommy Kahnle, scoring Francisco Lindor, made those escape acts a moot point.

Putnam escapes bases-loaded jam

"There's no sense of urgency. There's no rush," Brantley said. "You've got to play and the game, take what the game gives you and try to not do too much. Just kind of pass the line. The guy behind you is just as good as the guy in front of you. It's a special lineup."

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.