ARLINGTON, Texas – White Sox nation held its collective breath for 42 minutes Wednesday after while Todd Frazier, after dashing off the field with his third baseman’s glove covering his face, was receiving medical attention in the trainer’s room at Globe Life Park.
The good news for the Sox: Frazier suffered a cut lip that required five stitches after he dived into the stands attempting to catch Prince Fielder’s pop fly during the fourth inning. He should be good to go when the Sox open a three-game series on Friday against the Yankees in New York. The way the cleanup hitter’s face slammed into an empty seat, followed by his hurried dash to the dugout, it looked like it could be worse.
“It kind of freaked me out the way he reacted,’’ Sox right-hander Mat Latos said.
“He could have broke his jaw.’’
The bad news for the Sox: Latos couldn’t hold the Rangers in check even though the offense got to three-time All-Star Cole Hamels for five runs, and the Rangers held on for a 6-5 victory in the rubber game of a three-game series, dropping the Sox to 23-12.
Frazier had belted his team-leading 11th homer and collected his team-best 31st RBI in the top of the inning to pull Latos into a 2-2 tie. It was his third homer of the series, following a game-wining grand slam Monday, and he was finding perhaps his best groove of the season.
He and the rest of the Sox team will have a welcome off day Thursday. Frazier has started every game, Brett Lawrie – whose two-run homer two batters after Frazier’s gave the Sox a 4-2 lead — has played every inning and a bullpen that has been key to a fast start needs a rest.
“I’m going home tonight,’’ Frazier, a New Jersey native, said, “and I’ll be home for the day [Thursday] so it will be good. It’s good for everybody. Being in a good city in New York, everybody can hang out, go shopping and get a good meal and be rested for the three-game weekend.’’
The Sox almost took Latos (five runs allowed, five walks, no strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in his third consecutive subpar start after four gems) off the hook. After the Rangers tied the game in the fifth on Fielder’s two-out bloop double to left in the fifth, the Sox regained the lead on shortstop Tyler Saladino’s two-out single to center that scored Melky Cabrera from second and knocked out Hamels in the sixth. But the Rangers scored two in the sixth to take a 6-5 lead on Ian Desmond’s bloop an RBI single to left against Dan Jennings and Adrian Beltre’s go-ahead single.
In the Sox ninth, Jose Abreu was hit on the left elbow by Sam Dyson leading off the inning but the big guy was caught stealing on a hittable 3-2 strikeout pitch to Carlos Sanchez.
“Sanchy has to find a way to put it in play,’’ Ventura said. “You’ve got to shorten it up, but you take a gamble.’’
Sanchez, who replaced Frazier at third base, was batting in Frazier’s spot.
“It was an unfortunate play that turned the tables for us,’’ Frazier said. “Wish I could have been out there for the last two at-bats because I’ve seen Dyson before and have hit him really well. I’m not saying I would have hit a home run but I would have liked my chances.’’
Frazier said he’ll be good to go Friday but he wasn’t so sure when he was running off the field.
“I actually did catch it — thought I did on the replay,’’ he said. “Then I ran into a guy and my momentum took me into the stands and right into the armrest. I felt my tongue go through my bottom lip. So I ran off as quick as I could. I knew there was a hole there.’’
But for the Sox (whew) no hole left in the middle of their lineup.