BY TONI GINNETTI
The White Sox’ offense has been struggling, but a struggling offense still can produce enough runs to win a game.
It happened through much of April, when the Sox weren’t all ‘‘clicking’’ at the plate, as manager Robin Ventura put it. But they clicked when they had to for a dominating pitching staff.
‘‘I think we got hits when we needed them,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘There wasn’t anybody hitting .450, so we still haven’t gotten to that point we felt it was clicking offensively.
‘‘For us, our pitching has been the impressive thing. The defense has been better, and that will keep you in games when you’re not clicking offensively.’’
That was precisely what happened Sunday, when the Sox went a dismal 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position against the Kansas City Royals.
But the lone hit in that situation was a tiebreaking two-run single by Melky Cabrera with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning. It made the difference in a 3-2 victory that helped the Sox avoid a three-game sweep.
‘‘It was important,’’ Cabrera said. ‘‘I had a good pitch to hit, and we won the game. It was a very
important game for us. We needed to win that one.’’
Good pitching — this time from starter Carlos Rodon — and solid defense played right into Ventura’s winning formula.
‘‘It was big when [Todd Frazier] got us on the board [with a solo home run in the fourth], but the one with Melky — we’ve been scuffling with guys on base, especially with two outs,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘It was just a clutch hit for us. It kind of
relieved a lot of the pressure.’’
It especially helped Rodon (2-4), who had lost his last three decisions.
‘‘We didn’t want to get swept during that series,’’ said Rodon, who allowed two runs and eight hits in 6⅔ innings. ‘‘I came out and pitched the best I could and gave the team a chance to win.
‘‘It’s important to come back. The boys hit the ball for me, and the defense was great. All those [Royals] can hit, and it’s a tough lineup. I just tried to throw strikes and let the defense work behind me.’’
That might be what the Sox will continue to need.
‘‘That’s how games are won,’’ said Frazier, whose 13th homer tied the score 1-1. ‘‘You have to step up. Guys have to step up when the
With struggling slugger Jose Abreu getting the day off, the Sox managed only seven hits. Cabrera had two of them, including a double after Frazier’s homer in the fourth. But it was his single in the fifth that was really big.
‘‘Offensively, you need to have that hit that kind of breaks it open and pops the balloon,’’ Ventura said.
‘‘Melky does a lot of things for our team. You can always look at where we’re at with Adam [Eaton]
leading off and Melky being a switch hitter and always being kind of in the middle of things. He’s a very important piece.’’
David Robertson, who hadn’t pitched in five days, earned his 11th save with a 1-2-3 ninth after Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones combined to get the last out of the seventh and pitch the eighth.
‘‘These are huge games coming down the stretch of the first half,’’ Frazier said. ‘‘We’ve got Cleveland coming in — division foes — and every game is going to be a battle.’’
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