White Sox focus on positives amid tough stretch

White Sox focus on positives amid tough stretch

CHICAGO -- If the White Sox were looking for a theme to govern the final two months of their 2017 season, it would be, "Search for the positive."

Such is the way of a rebuilding team with a 6-19 record in its past 25 games and a 3-15 mark since the All-Star break following a 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.

"It's all positive from here on out," White Sox catcher Kevan Smith said. "That's the focus with the coaching staff and what they're bringing to the clubhouse and understanding that we're young."

"Honestly today, I'm not thinking about 19 games," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "I'm just thinking about today. I'm not even thinking about the last 23. I'm just thinking about today and what went right and what went wrong."

Renteria on the 5-1 loss

What went wrong is the White Sox lost their fifth straight home series, finishing at 2-6 over this eight-game homestand. Derek Holland also took his 11th loss of the season.

On the glass-half-full side, Holland made his first quality start since June 25 against Oakland. He has an 0-5 record over his past eight starts, so allowing two runs on five hits over six innings isn't exactly viewed as a cure-all by the southpaw. It is a step in the right direction.

"This is definitely a good start to build off. Probably, I would say the only disappointing thing is four walks," said Holland, who also fanned three. "That kills you from going later into the game."

"Made a few adjustments. Just kind of attacked the hitters two out of the first three strikes," Smith said of Holland. "Kind of expanded a few pitches because he gets in trouble a few times when he runs back over the plate. Just kind of varied where I was setting up on the plate, and we just kept the upbeat pace and the attacking hitters' mentality."

Tim Anderson posted his first multihit game since July 18 against the Dodgers with a first-inning single and third-inning triple, both going the other way. Anderson has 13 strikeouts over his past 41 at-bats, including three on Wednesday, but the focus is the fight and the approach for this team as much as the results.

"Of course we want to win in here," said Smith, who had two hits from the cleanup spot. "It's just part of the game of learning to play with each other, and it's getting better each day. We're going to take full advantage of this opportunity and just keep working hard."

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.