MILWAUKEE — As poorly as the White Sox (12-17) have played at times this season, they’ve taken their game on the road (2-12) to an even lower level.
Much, much lower — as in just plain awful.
The latest example came Monday at Miller Park, where the Sox opened a six-game trip with a 10-7 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. With a chance — and a need — to nudge closer to the .500 mark with three games against the last-place Brewers and three against the last-place Oakland Athletics, their response was another not-ready-for-climb-time performance right from the get-go.
While the Sox would rally from a 6-0 deficit to tie the score at 7 in the eighth, only to lose the game when left-hander Zach Duke gave up home runs to Elian Herrera and Khris Davis, the damage from an awful start did them in when all was said and done.
“We played poorly at the beginning of the game to get us into that situation,’’ said manager Robin Ventura, whose team lost its seventh straight road game. “We've got to catch the ball.’’To wit:
Gerardo Parra rifled a single that deflected off second baseman Micah Johnson to open the first inning and stole second with the help of a wide throw from catcher Geovany Soto. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez then booted a routine grounder by Ryan Braun, putting runners at the corners.
Adam Lind followed with a potential double-play grounder to Johnson, who took his time getting his throw to Ramirez, wiping out the shot at turning two. Carlos Gomez then hit a two-run home run against Jeff Samardzija to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
In the second, Parra doubled in a run with two outs and scored when Ramirez couldn’t get a glove on a grounder to his left by Braun, even though it looked like a reachable ball. On the mound, Samardzija kicked the dirt.
“You still have to make your pitches and make good pitches,’’ Samardzija said when asked about the lackluster defense.
“You can’t hang a slider to Gomez.’’
Meanwhile, Sox hitters didn’t get a ball out of the infield against right-hander Wily Peralta until the fifth, the inning Soto homered to cut the Brewers’ lead to 6-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Sox exhibited more Little League-style defense. Gomez tripled into the right-field corner, and Avisail Garcia’s throw into the infield skidded into short left field, allowing Gomez to keep going and score on close play at the plate.
The Sox have been outscored 89-44 on the road. Since the start of the 2013 season, they are 61-115 on the road (.349), the second-lowest winning percentage in the majors. Only the Colorado Rockies (57-120, .322) have been worse.
‘‘If you knew [why], you’d change it, take your bed on the road, whatever you’ve got to do,’’ Ventura said.
“I don’t know if you can just put a finger on it or you’re just on the road and you don’t play as well, but it has to change.’’
It has to, but after seeing it carry over from the last two seasons, you wonder if it will.
“We definitely need to not make this harder on ourselves,’’ Samardzija said.
The Sox haven’t pitched well on the road this season, either, turning in only four quality starts. Samardzija yielded seven runs (five earned) in six innings.
Adam Eaton had four hits and his first two RBI of the season – including the tying knock against Jonathan Broxton in the eighth– and Jose Abreu a two-run single in the seventh. Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for the Brewers (12-21), who improved to 5-3 since Craig Counsell replaced Ron Roenicke as manager.