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Clutch hitting eludes White Sox in loss to Rays

The White Sox were one hit away. They’re still waiting for that hit.

The Sox left 12 runners on base in their 5-4 loss Monday to the Rays, including two each in the eighth and ninth innings. In the ninth, they had runners on second and third with no outs against struggling Rays closer Alex Colome, but Yolmer Sanchez, Tim Anderson and Leury Garcia grounded out to extend the Sox’ losing streak to four.

Leaving runners on base and struggling with runners in scoring position have been themes for the Sox recently. In their last three games, they’re 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position and have left 27 runners on base.

‘‘I feel like we are in every game,’’ outfielder Nicky Delmonico said. ‘‘It’s just that one hit or that one [at-bat] that can change the game.’’

Tyler Saladino is tagged out by C.J. Cron during Monday's game. | Getty Images

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Manager Rick Renteria knows driving runners in is just another part of the maturation process his young team is going through. The more they play, the more experience they’ll get and the slower the game will get.

Instead of talking immediately with his players about what they could have done differently or better, Renteria said he prefers to allow them to ‘‘marinate’’ on what happened and to gather their thoughts.

‘‘When it’s all settled down, you can talk to them and say: ‘OK, what was the thought process in that particular at-bat? Did you feel like you got the pitch that you wanted? Did you feel like you put the swing you wanted to put on it?’ ’’ Renteria said. ‘‘And they’ll have the answer to that question. But they’ve got to experience those moments.’’

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Right-hander Carson Fulmer’s spring training wasn’t what anybody wanted. He gave up 14 earned runs and walked 13 in 10 2/3 innings and didn’t look like the top-10 pick he was in 2015.

So Fulmer’s first start of the season, a no-decision last week in Toronto, was encouraging for the Sox. He allowed three runs and five hits in five innings, striking out five and walking one.

The Sox want to see him continue to throw strikes and to use his secondary pitches Tuesday against the Rays.

‘‘I think he’ll continue to build on that,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I think it was very similar to how he finished last season. And I think that he’s continued to gain confidence, continued to go out there [and] have an idea, execute pitches and give himself a chance, give us a chance.’’

Fast start

Anderson is the first Sox player since Kenny Lofton in 2002 to steal five bases in the team’s first nine games. But he said he’s just trying to keep things simple and have fun and is confident the rest will take care of itself.

‘‘I feel great,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘I’m swiping bags. I’m hitting, playing with a lot of energy. It’s fun. It’s contagious. It’s helping our ballclub get going, and hopefully I can keep the same intensity up.’’