Renteria uses NL maneuvers to guide White Sox

Renteria uses NL maneuvers to guide White Sox

PHOENIX -- Call it creative managing, or thinking outside the box.

Better yet, call it White Sox manager Rick Renteria trying to work his American League squad in a National League ballpark during a 5-4 loss to the D-backs on Tuesday. Renteria started the game one position player short, with eight relievers on the roster and top offensive force Avisail Garcia scratched from the starting lineup while battling the flu.

Throw in starter Dylan Covey departing with one out in the third due to left oblique soreness, and Renteria was left to try everything -- and anything -- possible to try to pull out a victory.

"We threw everything at them but the kitchen sink," said a smiling Renteria. "Try to see what we can do. The guys kept battling. It was a good ballgame. Give both clubs credit for battling and playing a good game."

How strange did this one get for the White Sox, who slipped to 20-24 and 3-6 on this 10-game, three-city road trip? Infielder Yolmer Sanchez made his debut in right field as part of a double switch in the sixth, when David Holmberg replaced Gregory Infante on the mound.

Sanchez caught Jake Lamb's line drive to right on the first pitch after he entered right.

"He's another guy who, like the rest of them, work in the outfield during batting practice and early work," Renteria said. "You never know when you're going to have to use him, and today was the day. We were trying to save Avi until the end, if need be.

"Our guys put us in a position to do what we needed to do to give ourselves a foot up. It just didn't work out."

Renteria also called for bunts on several occasions, with the most interesting choice coming in the fourth with runners on first and second, no outs and catcher Kevan Smith at the plate. Smith missed on the first two attempts, but on an 0-2 pitch from starter Patrick Corbin, he still tried to bunt the ball down the third-base line.

Smith's bunt stayed fair almost to the base, but rolled foul at the last moment for a strikeout. Pinch-hitter Matt Davidson grounded into a double play to end the threat, but Renteria pointed to defensive positioning as his reason for the 0-2 choice.

"They went back into complete heavy depth, so all we had to do was lay it on the ground, and it's probably not even a sac, it's a base hit," Renteria said of Smith's bunt attempt. "We've done that before, and then, as you noticed, the last inning with two strikes, they were still down our throat, and we tried to do something else."

The maneuvering may not have worked for the White Sox, but their approach certainly gave them a chance.

"There are ups and downs, and right now, hopefully we continue to play as focused as we have been, and we'll get some shutdown innings that help us," Renteria said. "We'll continue to try to score some runs, and see if we can win a ballgame."

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.