It was another rough night for the bullpen, a second straight game that saw the defense give up a big run and in the end, a fifth loss in six games for the White Sox, who fell to the Houston Astros 6-5 in 11 innings Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Sox did show their usual late fight, forcing extra innings with Tyler Saladino’s ninth inning sacrifice fly, but after closer David Robertson pitched two perfect innings of relief Evan Gattis ripped an 0-2 pitch from reliever Matt Albers into the left field bullpen in the 11th sent 13,481 fans at U.S. Cellular Field home disappointed.
“Matt’s bread and butter is [the sinker], that one just didn’t sink like the previous ones in that at-bat,’’ catcher Alex Avila said.
Avila was at the center of some controversy when, one batter before Gattis, George Springer stole second on a third strike to Carlos Correa. Sox manager Robin Ventura argued that Correa — and replay supported him — interfered with Avila by stepping in front of him on the throw.
Ventura said Springer should have been called out. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said, if there was interference, Springer would have been sent back to first base.
“It’s a judgement call by the umpire on whether it altered his throw,” Hinch said. “He got off a pretty strong throw. I’m sure I would’ve been out there arguing the other way, but it didn’t look like it altered his throw.”
“I just thought Alex had altered the way he was throwing,” Ventura said. “He had to go over the top of him and it doesn’t matter if he swings or not, if it impedes his throw or makes him it alter he should be out.”
The Sox tied it in the ninth against right-hander Luke Gregerson on Saladino’s fly ball that scored Austin Jackson, who led off the inning with a double. Saladino — subbing for Todd Frazier, who was ill — made an error in the second inning that led to an unearned run against Sox starter Carlos Rodon.
Saladino also doubled in a run in the fifth but Rodon couldn’t hold the lead, and right-hander Zach Putnam gave up the go-ahead run in the Astros eighth on Jose Altuve’s sacrifice fly after the Sox wasted a gift of three walks by left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
The Sox got within a run in the 11th on Adam Eaton’s RBI double against left-hander Tony Sipp.
“Yeah, guys keep coming back,” Ventura said. “I think that’s what you take out of it.”
Rodon allowed a pair of first-row, solo home runs to Tyler White, including a game-tying shot in the sixth inning after the Sox had rallied to give him a lead. Rodon gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits over six innings.
“I’m getting there. I’m getting better,” Rodon said. “Just give my team and chance to win that’s all I gotta to.”
Jose Abreu homered to center field, his sixth of the season, in the fourth.
The Sox were 7-2 in their last nine games at U.S. Cellular Field, where they opened a 10-game home stand.
Jones leaves with bruised foot
Right-hander Nate Jones left the game after being hit on the left foot by a Carlos Correa smash in the seventh inning. Jones picked up the ball and got an out at first on the play.
X-rays were negative and Jones is day-to-day with a bruise.