The White Sox have shown they can hit. But that offense can’t always overcome bad starting pitching and an unreliable bullpen.
Saturday proved that.
Felipe Paulino had his second straight tough outing, allowing six runs and six hits and three walks along with three homers but the offense got him a no-decision. It wasn’t able to do the same for Ronald Belisario, who took the loss in the White Sox’s 12-6 loss Saturday to the Indians.
With the game tied 6-6 in the seventh, Belisario (1-1) allowed a Nick Swisher single and walked Carlos Santana, before Scott Downs walked Michael Brantley to load the bases with one out. Daniel Webb got Asdrubal Cabrera to pop out, but Ryan Raburn’s two-run single gave Cleveland an 8-6 lead.
In the ninth, David Murphy blew the game open with a three-run triple off Donnie Veal, and then scored on a Mike Aviles single.
Josh Outman (2-0) got the win in relief for Cleveland.
Belisario pitched 1 1/3 innings and was charged with two runs, continuing what happened Wednesday when he gave up five runs in one-third of an inning before leaving with lower back tightness. Veal, meanwhile was coming off his outing Friday when he gave up a run.
They weren’t the only White Sox pitchers whose struggles persisted.
In his previous start – an 8-1 loss to Colorado on Monday – Paulino gave up six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.
But before the game, manager Robin Ventura preached patience for Paulino, who didn’t pitch in the majors last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“It doesn’t mean he doesn’t belong here. He belongs here and I think it’s part of him getting back in the groove,” Ventura said. “You’ve got an offense that’s been working. Give him a chance.”
Still, he didn’t do what Ventura was hoping. He gave up home runs to Swisher, Murphy and Jason Kipnis, failing to take advantage of the offensive support.
“I’d like to see him in better hitters’ counts. I think he falls behind and starts picking,” Ventura said. “Early on you’re just going to have to throw strikes and hopefully get through a little quicker than he’s been in the past.”
He wasn’t, but the White Sox offense got him a no-decision anyway.
The White Sox lineup kept up against Justin Masterson, a pitcher who tormented them last season. Masterson was 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA against them in 2013, but the White Sox got him for six runs (five earned), seven hits and one home run in 4 2/3 innings.
After Paulino and the White Sox fell behind 3-0 in the first, they scored four times to take a 4-3 lead. The three earned runs they scored matched the three Masterson allowed against them last year in 32 2/3 innings.
Adam Eaton’s second-inning homer then gave the White Sox a 5-4 lead, and Jordan Danks’ RBI groundout in the fifth tied the game at 6.
They could have had more, but they left 10 runners on base, blunting the attack on a day when it started atop the American League in batting average, hits, runs, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.
Alexei Ramirez extended his season-opening hitting streak to 12 games with his fifth-inning single, and Eaton’s fourth-inning walk was his seventh straight time on base.