Eloy Jiménez represented the tying run when he batted with one on and two out in the eighth inning on Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The designated hitter for the Chicago White Sox hit a fly ball to right center field. Right fielder Daulton Varsho ran to the warning track and made the catch.
Jiménez had a look of disbelief. His companions couldn’t believe it either.
“I don’t know how that ball didn’t come out,” right fielder Gavin Sheets said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
That’s the way it goes during a South Side slump, which continued for the Red Sox with a 10-5 loss in front of 25,837 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Sox allowed five runs in the second inning and never recovered as they fell a game under .500 at 63-64.
“The worst thing you can do is get frustrated and depressed, get discouraged,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Get mad. Do something about it (Sunday). That’s the message. Get some adrenaline and get back to normal.”
The Sox have lost eight of 10. This tailspin includes a 21-5 loss to the Houston Astros on Aug. 18, a 4-3, 11-inning loss on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards when the Sox were one pitch away from a win in the ninth and back-to-back home losses to the Diamondbacks in games that won’t inspire playoff talk.
Saturday started off well for the Sox. Sheets hit a three-run homer in the first.
The Diamondbacks started the second with a walk, a catcher’s interference called Carlos Pérez and a single to load the bases. Carson Kelly brought home a run on a walk and Geraldo Perdomo drove in two with a single, tying the game at 3.
Kelly scored on a pass and Perdomo on a groundout, making it 5-3.
Sox starter Davis Martin, called up from Triple-A Charlotte to replace the injured Michael Kopech, allowed five runs, four earned, four hits with four walks and two strikeouts in three innings.
“I think at one point I was being too fine, trying to swing and miss instead of trying to hit the zone,” Martin said. “I definitely think it was a big determining factor for the four walks.
“I didn’t do my job. Score three runs and the second inning, my job is to get three outs and get back to the dugout, but starting with an opening walk, kind of takes the wind out of the sails there. I just have to learn from that and move on to the next day.”
Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly allowed four runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in 7⅓ innings.
“In the first one we were really selective,” Sheets said. “We were fouling some really tough pitches, getting some tough pitches. I feel like during the game he got the controller back from him.
“In the first we had him a bit on the ropes. I was able to get a cast to do some damage. But she didn’t get lost in the middle of the plate, but she was also a little bit off the plate. I think that changed as the game went on.”
La Russa added: “We have to do a better job of starting something and then finishing it.”
Romy González hit an RBI double and scored on José Abreu’s single to pull the Sox within 7-5 in the eighth. Joe Mantiply replaced Mark Melancon and got Jimenez to fly Varsho.
“When he came off his bat, of course I want him, I thought I had a really good chance,” La Russa said.
Any hope the Red Sox had of a dramatic ninth was quickly dashed when the Diamondbacks scored three runs. Sox reliever Joe Kelly left with a bruised left knee after being hit by Jake McCarthy’s ground ball. The Red Sox said the X-rays came back negative, and he is day to day.
La Russa said Kelly would not be available Sunday as the team is in a position to try to avoid a sweep.
“It’s our responsibility to go out every night and play hard and get these wins,” Sheets said. “So now all we can do is go out (Sunday) and get this win and go on the day off (Monday) and come back refreshed and really do some damage next week.”