White Sox shut out by Mets, losing streak at 7
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NEW YORK — The White Sox took a different route to their seventh straight defeat Monday afternoon at Citi Field, this time producing only two hits in a 1-0 loss to the New York Mets.
Matt Harvey, Addison Reed and Jeurys Famila combined on the shutout, ruining another exceptional performance by Sox All-Star candidate Jose Quintana (5-5, 2.13 ERA) as the Sox (27-25) continued to free fall with their 15th loss in 19 games.
Harvey (4-7), coming off a third straight loss that some thought could jeopardize his spot in the Mets rotation, retired the first 13 Sox batters on a muggy Memorial Day afternoon — including six strikeouts in that stretch — and faced the minimum through six innings before getting into his first jam in the seventh.
After Adam Eaton walked and Jose Abreu singled Eaton to second to start the inning, manager Robin Ventura had third-place hitter Melky Cabrera bunt them to third and second but cleanup man Todd Frazier, with the infield back conceding the tying run, fouled out to first baseman Wil Flores. J.B. Shuck then grounded out to shortstop.
“With the way both guys were pitching, you figured one run was going to do it, so you’re trying to get him in scoring position,” Ventura said of the bunt strategy with Cabrera, who had struck out and hit a soft roller to second in his first two at-bats. “You’re able to get a guy in scoring position and … if you get two, you’re looking good.”
Giving an out away with a bunt, particularly with a good hitter, is a strategy that opens itself to second-guessing. Frazier seemed aware of it having seen his Twitter feed after the game.
“I think it’s the right choice,” Frazier said. “I’m there to get RBIs. A lot of people complain he’s bunting. No. I’m the 3-4 hitter. I’m supposed to get those runs in. He did his job, got the guys over.”
Moments later, Neil Walker led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run to break a scoreless tie. Quintana said he let a fastball meant for the outside corner over too much of the plate.
“I just tried to not give up runs,” Quintana said. “It was a close game, and wait for the hitters to come back. But Harvey threw really well, and he got the win.”
Quintana pitched seven innings and allowed one run on six hits and one walk while striking out seven while lowering his American League best ERA.
A “pretty much normal” start for him, catcher Alex Avila said.
“He keeps going out there and pitching good games.”
The Sox were coming off a three-game sweep in Kansas City in which the Royals rallied for three wins against a Sox bullpen that served up 14 runs in an unforgettable series. The Sox are far removed from the team that got off to a 23-10 start.
“When we were winning, it seemed like a different guy every day,” said Frazier, frustrated by his 1-for-22 slump and having what he said were two good fastballs to hit. “Now it’s the opposite: a different guy every day not getting the job done. It was me today.
“We talk about it all the time: Do your job. And I didn’t do it.”
The Sox, who have won one series in their last nine and six in a row, must now turn to their fourth and fifth starters, Mat Latos and Miguel Gonzalez, in the last two games of this interleague series. Left-hander Steven Matz (7-1, 2.36) and Jacob deGrom (3-1, 3.07) will go for the Mets.
“When you lose, it seems like when it rains it pours,’’ Frazier said. “You don’t want to fall in that trap. We’re playing our tails off. Every scenario, how to lose, it just keeps coming up. It’s a crazy game, man. It’s frustrating.’’