White Sox’ Jeff Samardzija yields run in first, but sixth is killer

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BY TONI GINNETTI

For the Sun-Times

Right-hander Jeff Samardzija allowed another run in the first inning Sunday, his 17th of the season to lead all pitchers.

But the White Sox, who had been outscored by a major-league-worst 46-15 in the first, came back with three in the bottom of the inning.

This time it was two home runs in the sixth — a solo shot by Yoenis Cespedes and a two-run shot by J.D. Martinez — that proved to be Samardzija’s undoing.

‘‘They put a couple over the fence, and that was the difference,’’ he said of the Sox’ 6-4 loss. ‘‘You get four runs [in the first two innings], and I put that [loss] on myself.’’

It was the first home loss of the season for Samardzija (4-4). He also surrendered 10 hits, the first time in his career he has allowed double-digit hits in back-to-back starts. He yielded 12 in five-plus innings Tuesday against the Texas Rangers.

Samardzija’s ERA in the first inning this season is 11.25 (15 earned runs in 12 innings). His overall ERA is 4.93.

Perseverance pays

The Sox put left-handed reliever Dan Jennings on the disabled list with inflammation on the left side of his neck, a condition that had been bothering him for several days.

The move opened a long-dreamed-of opportunity for 30-year-old right-hander Junior Guerra, who had pitched in the minors and other countries with the hope of making it to the majors someday.

‘‘It’s a nice day when you can reward that,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.

Guerra signed a minor-league contract with the Sox after having some success last winter in his native Venezuela. He was 2-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 12 games at

Class AA Birmingham and Class AAA Charlotte.

‘‘I’ve learned through ups and downs in my career,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve pitched in many different countries. I’ve learned to keep working and never put my head down and keep my confidence.’’

Walk on by

The Sox rank near the bottom of the majors in walks with 127 and have drawn only seven in their last 15 games.

They drew two Sunday, and one of them turned into a run in the second. Carlos Sanchez walked with two outs and scored on a triple by Adam Eaton.

Draft day 1988

There was little fanfare when Ventura became the Sox’ first-round draft pick in 1988.

‘‘Somebody called and said, ‘You got drafted by the White Sox,’ ’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I think it was Tom Holliday, [St. Louis Cardinals outfielder] Matt Holliday’s dad. There was no Internet, no cell phone. It wasn’t on TV.’’

Ventura, the 10th overall selection, was on the U.S. Olympic team going to Seoul, South Korea, that summer.

‘‘I didn’t hear from the team probably for a couple of days,’’ he said.

Ventura also negotiated his own first contract.

‘‘I did all right,’’ he said.

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