The White Sox went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and did not score.
Yermin Mercedes, cooling off considerably since that much ballyhooed homer in Minneapolis last week, left 10 runners on base. And with that, another brilliant pitching performance by Carlos Rodon was wasted in a 4-0 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field that allowed St. Louis to escape town without getting swept.
Worst of all, Michael Kopech and Adam Eaton tweaked their hamstrings and left the game. They’re day-to-day.
Kopech, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning, has been a force out of the bullpen. But the inning ended with him spinning around and falling to the ground after his final pitch. He hobbled to the dugout while biting on the top of his jersey.
“There isn’t a guy on this roster, if he gets hurt, we don’t feel it or feel for him. We’ve had our share [of injuries],” manager Tony La Russa said. “But in this particular case, he’s been on top of it. So keep our fingers crossed that’s it’s not serious.”
The Sox’ outfield already is being held together by string, and losing Eaton would add to an ongoing problem area.
The only hit against Rodon (5-2, 1.29 ERA), who struck out 10 without allowing a walk in six innings, was a solo home run by Cardinals leadoff hitter Tommy Edman in the third inning. Edman also hit a solo shot against Aaron Bummer in the eighth.
A two-run single by Edmundo Sosa in the ninth against Jose Ruiz iced the game for the Cardinals (27-22) and buried the Sox (28-20), who left 11 runners on base. Mercedes (0-for-4) popped out, struck out and hit into a fielder’s choice but had some tough luck when he hit a liner to left fielder Justin Williams with the bases loaded in the first. Williams threw out Eaton at home to complete a double play.
Cardinals starter John Gant -(3-2) also escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third when Mercedes fouled out.
“I look at it two ways,” said La Russa, looking for a positive. “No. 1, you’ve got to create the situations. So it wasn’t like our guys didn’t go to bat and go to work and try to make things happen. But a guy that’s been one of the most consistent RBI guys in Yermin, they pitched him tough and got him out. Moncada’s got a bunch of big hits, missed one chance.
“Our guys were working the at-bats. Just couldn’t break through.”
The Sox were without shortstop Tim Anderson, who was given a day off after a night game as they go through a stretch of 27 games in 27 days.
“Man’s not a machine,” La Russa said. “Reluctantly, he agreed it would be a good day to take a break. I really don’t like doing it at home because our fans like to see him, but I know our fans care about him, too. It’s a good day to rest him.”
The 14,791 fans weren’t treated to much, but they did get to see third-base umpire Joe West, who broke the record for most games by an umpire Tuesday, eject Cardinals manager Mike Shildt in the seventh with the Sox trailing 1-0. West noticed something on reliever Giovanny Gallegos’ hat and made him change it, which set off Shildt.
“Rather than get into a confrontation after the fact and put the pitcher in jeopardy,” second-base umpire Dan Bellino said, “I decided to make him remove the hat so that he doesn’t do anything with an illegal substance on his hat.
“I don’t think he had any problem with it. He said it was sunscreen. When Mike got upset about it, I don’t think he really knew what we were doing. I was just trying to keep the pitcher in the game.”
With a fresh hat, Gallegos then struck out Jose Abreu and Mercedes, stranding two runners.
The Sox host the Orioles Thursday to open a four-game series.