La Russa ‘angry’ after White Sox waste Cease’s effort, blow chance to win in 9th

After a five-game winning streak that put them five games above .500 and one game out of first place in the AL Central, the Sox have lost nine of 11 to dip two games under .500.

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The Diamondbacks’ Jake McCarthy hits an RBI double in the eighth inning Sunday against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Diamondbacks’ Jake McCarthy hits an RBI double in the eighth inning Sunday against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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After watching eight innings of two-hit ball by his ace wasted and the tying and winning runs stranded in the ninth inning, manager Tony La Russa was pushed to a new depth following the White Sox’ fourth consecutive loss that put their American League playoff chances in even greater jeopardy.

“No, I just get angry,” La Russa said tersely Sunday after being asked if he was frustrated that the Diamondbacks won 3-2 to complete a three-game sweep. “I don’t like frustration, discouragement. That’s loser crap. It just seeps energy out of your body. I just get angry and want to do something about it.”

There might not be much La Russa can do except pray that his team suddenly becomes healthy and productive with 34 games left. After a five-game winning streak that put them five games above .500 and one game out of first in the AL Central, the Sox (63-65) have lost nine of 11 to dip two games under .500.

“Baseball is a game of consistency, and realistically we haven’t been as consistent as we should,’’ Josh Harrison said.

Cease pitched a career-high eight innings, but the Diamondbacks made the most of their three hits. Stone Garrett hit his first major-league home run in the second inning, and Sergio Alcantara hit a game-tying homer off Cease in the eighth.

Jake McCarthy hit a tiebreaking double with two outs in the ninth off reliever Kendall Graveman, who dug a hole by walking two.

The offense, which has scored three runs or fewer 65 times, missed a chance to at least tie the game when pinch hitter Leury Garcia and Romy Gonzalez struck out after Elvis Andrus hit a double and pinch hitter Eloy Jimenez walked.

Unlike Saturday during their 10-5 loss in which the Sox heard boos before pregame introductions and a “SELL THE TEAM” sign popped up around the stadium, a crowd of 29,781 showed its appreciation after Gavin Sheets hit a sacrifice fly and AJ Pollock smacked a go-ahead single in the sixth inning.

But a scattering of boos surfaced after Gonzalez struck out.

“The frustration, anger, it’s going to be different emotions for people,” Harrison said of his teammates’ mood. “Needless to say, we’re not in a good spot as a whole.”

The offense, without a healthy Luis Robert (bruised hand) or Jimenez (sore right hamstring), has fizzled like a sparkler. The Sox had three hits in the first five innings against finesse maven Zach Davies, whose last victory came on May 13 against the Cubs.

Robert’s pinch-running appearance eliminated any chance of being backdated on the 10-day injured list after hurting his hand Thursday, but he could return to the lineup Tuesday, when the Sox open a three-game series at home against the Royals.

Catcher Yasmani Grandal is expected to return from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte this week, but it might not matter unless the offense provides enough support.

Cease’s ERA stayed at 2.27 as he retired 17 consecutive batters after allowing his only walk to Alcantara in the second inning.

But Cease had no margin for error, as evidenced by Alcantara’s game-tying homer on what he said was a perfectly placed pitch.

“Losing is always disappointing,” Cease said. “I think it would be an issue if there wasn’t some anger and some disappointment. Like I said, we’ve got a lot of professionals here.”

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