A six-game losing streak isn’t uncharted territory for White Sox manager Rick Renteria.
He endured two of them while managing the rebuilding Cubs in 2014 and plenty more as a player and coach in the last 30-plus years.
Now with the rebuilding Sox, Renteria said he knows how to handle these situations “through a lot of experience and a lot of failure.”
“There are moments when you have to have talks with your teams as it relates to effort or things of that nature,” Renteria said. “But I don’t think that’s the case for our men. They’re going out there and trying to do their job.”
The Sox did their job in entertaining fashion Saturday, beating the Padres 5-4 on a walk-off single by Yolmer Sanchez in the ninth inning to snap their skid. The victory could serve as a shot in the arm for a team that fell from first to fourth place in the span of a week.
“You remind them first: Don’t get used to losing,” Renteria said. “You’re playing against -major-league teams. To win a -major-league ballgame is very difficult on a daily basis, no matter who you’re competing against.”
While a six-game losing streak at this point in the season could break a rebuilding team, the Sox have reason to remain optimistic. They’ve stayed competitive despite a slew of injuries to every part of the roster.
“Guys are in the day, in the -moment,” shortstop Tyler Saladino said. “I don’t even know how many losses we had before this -because that’s not what we talk about. That’s not the feel.”
The Sox and Padres traded runs all night until Sanchez’s heroics. Saladino led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Leury Garcia.
Sanchez ripped a single up the middle, and Saladino avoided a tag with a perfect slide on a close play at the plate to win the game. The play was reviewed and upheld by the umpiring crew.
“He threw me three sliders in a row, so I was looking for that one,” Sanchez said. “Put it in play, that’s it.”
Starter Dylan Covey wasn’t able to come away with his first win, but he kept the Sox in the game and struck out nine batters in 4„ innings. He gave up two solo homers, including a leadoff shot in the first to Manuel Margot, the second night in a row the Padres led off with a homer.
Covey dug in after the home run and struck out the side and six of the next seven batters.
“I was getting tired of getting beat with my mediocre stuff,” Covey said. “So I gave it all I had with every pitch. That first pitch kind of lit a fire underneath me and I started attacking guys right after that.”
The outcome was exactly the sort Renteria was looking for when he discussed positivity and staying the course before the game.
Even after a six-game losing streak, a leadoff home run to fall behind early and a short start by Covey, the Sox didn’t waver.
“They haven’t gone flat,” Renteria said of the club. “Their energy has been consistent. That’s all you can ask of a team. You talk about -effort level, they’re giving it.”
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