White Sox lose 7th in row


General manager Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura (right) talk before the White Sox’ 3-2 loss to the Pirates Thursday. AP

Seven: Number of consecutive White Sox losses.

Three: Number of hits.

Countless: Number of bad demonstrations of baseball this season.

The latest White Sox defeat, a 3-2 decision to the surging Pittsburgh Pirates who held the Sox to 13 hits in four games this week, featured yet another exhibit of “did that really happen?” defense. This one was a pop fly that fell behind shortstop Alexei Ramirez and in front of center fielder Adam Eaton that didn’t figure in the scoring but made starter Jeff Samardzija work some overtime he didn’t deserve.

While Eaton dismissed the significance because it didn’t figure in the scoring, he took responsibility as the one to take charge on a play that got an unusual rise out of manager Robin Ventura, who is growing weary of seeing it regardless of the circumstance.

“That’s just bad. I’m tired of talking about it,’’ Ventura said. “They know it. We work it all of spring training – you’ve probably seen it a few hundred times that we work on it. I’m getting tired of talking about it because that’s just bad.”

When asked which player needed to take charge – it appeared to be an easy enough play for Ramirez to make – Ventura said, “They need to catch it – that’s what they need to do.”

Samardzija matched up well with Pirates ace Gerrit Cole (11-2, 1.78 ERA), each of them allowing two runs over seven innings. Like every other pitcher on the Sox staff, Samardzija’s 4.67 ERA has been adversely affected by plays not made by the Sox infield, outfield and catchers that don’t always show up in the box score.

“You can’t let any mistakes happen out there if you want to win and you want to win a lot,’’ Samardzija said. “You might scrape across one or two here or there but you have to play a complete game — offense, defense, pitching — and we need to do that.’’

The Sox offense went from ranking at or near the bottom in most major league statistical categories to historic against the Pirates, who out-hit them 46-13 in the home-and-home four-game interleague series to extend their winning streak to eight. The Sox hadn’t been held to four or fewer hits in four straight games in the past 102 seasons.

“We have to get going,’’ understated Eaton, who got to second base twice with no outs via a wild pitch and stolen base but did not score. “It’s no longer an early part of the season, it’s starting to be buckle-down time when we need to put together a string of good games and it has to be sooner than later before the [July 31] trade deadline starts creeping up on us. If we’re not playing the game we need to be playing our friends are going to start leaving.’’

The Sox (28-37) host the Texas Rangers this weekend before going on the road to play the Twins, Tigers and Cardinals to finish out the month of June. Not exactly a table set for a turnaround for a team that can’t hit or prevent runs very well.

The Sox hits against Cole consisted of an infield single by Eaton, a bloop double near the right-field line by Jose Abreu and Geovany Soto’s solo homer in the seventh that made it 2-2.

“We’ve got to be able to put up more than that,’’ Ventura said. “I thought Jeff pitched well tonight.’’

Samardzija gave up 10 hits, most of them of the infield variety or softly hit to the outfield. One of the off-season acquisitions that allowed the Sox to declare themselves contenders, he’s probably wondering where he’ll be pitching during the second half of the season.

“Any time you’re losing there is going to be frustration,’’ he said. “We’re all playing hard and we’re going to keep doing that.’’

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @cst_soxvan

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