Tempers flare, White Sox’ bats fizzle in 1-0 loss to Pirates

The Pirates’ Oneil Cruz suffers a fractured ankle on a play that sparked a benches-clearing incident; Sox starter Kopech pitches six innings of one-run ball.

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The benches clear as a result of a home plate collision between Pittsburgh Pirates’ Oneil Cruz and White Sox catcher Seby Zavala.

The benches clear as a result of a home plate collision between Pittsburgh Pirates’ Oneil Cruz and White Sox catcher Seby Zavala during the sixth inning Sunday. Cruz fractured his ankle on the play.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

PITTSBURGH — There’s nothing like a benches-clearing incident to get the juices flowing, and the one Sunday after Pirates baserunner Oneil Cruz’s clunky slide into White Sox catcher Seby Zavala got everyone who was involved amped up.

It got Cruz seriously hurt — he suffered a fractured left ankle on his straight-ahead slide in the sixth inning that upset Zavala and the rest of the Sox — but it did nothing to perk up a Sox lineup that entering the day had been one of the best in the majors at piling up hits and runs.

Against right-hander Johan Oviedo and three relievers, the Sox managed only six singles — three of them by Gavin Sheets — and lost 1-0 to give the Pirates the rubber game of the series.

‘‘A tough one to come out of with the loss,’’ said Sox starter Michael Kopech, who rebounded from a horrendous start against the Giants — in which he allowed five home runs — by yielding one run in six innings.

On a day the Sox (4-6) lost, Kopech pitching six innings and touching 97 mph in the sixth was something of a victory. Seeing him gather himself after the benches-clearing incident, which started with Zavala’s harsh words for Cruz, was, too.

Pirates designated hitter Carlos Santana, who was in the on-deck circle during the crash at home, approached Zavala as Cruz writhed in pain, and Kopech had to be restrained.

‘‘The nerves are going and the adrenaline is pumping,’’ said Kopech, who settled down after a visit to the mound by manager Pedro Grifol. ‘‘It’s tough to get yourself back down to earth again.’’

Kopech got a forceout, then struck out Ji Man Choi to strand two runners and keep the Sox’ deficit at one.

‘‘Bottom line is, we don’t want to see anyone get hurt,’’ Kopech said of the incident, in which no one was ejected. ‘‘It was a late slide, and we weren’t happy with the slide. Santana didn’t like what he was hearing [from Zavala]. For the most part, we were trying to de-escalate the situation.’’

Santana had words for Zavala, and ‘‘we had some choice words for him,’’ Kopech said. ‘‘He put his fist up like he was ready to fight. I’m not looking for a fight there, but everyone is looking for a fight until someone wants to fight him back. Things really escalated.

‘‘Somebody from their dugout put their hands on me. I’m not going to start things, but I’m gonna finish them. I’m not happy with the situation. We’ll say it’s the end of it. From my perspective, it’s on them.’’

Zavala kicked Ke’Bryan Hayes’ bat out of the way and left Cruz room to avoid contact.

‘‘He was out by a good amount,’’ Zavala said. ‘‘I wasn’t too happy about how late the slide was. Things happen, and everybody’s competing. Tempers get high sometimes.

‘‘Santana didn’t like what I said. He said something I didn’t like.’’

‘‘I don’t like that [Zavala] screamed at [Cruz] when he got hurt,’’ Santana said.

Kopech, who retired 11 batters in a row in one stretch before walking Cruz to lead off the sixth, struck out five, walked three and allowed the Pirates’ only two hits. One was a triple near the wall by Canaan Smith-Njigba that eluded right fielder Romy Gonzalez’s reach in the second. Smith-Njigba scored the only run on Taft High School graduate Jack Suwinski’s sacrifice fly.

‘‘Went barely over my glove,’’ Gonzalez said of the triple.

And the Sox barely threatened offensively and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position when they did. Yasmani Grandal pinch-hit for Zavala in the seventh and took strike three on a pitch from Dauri Moreta that looked to be a shade above the strike zone.

After that, the Sox went six up, six down against Colin Holderman and David Bednar.

‘‘Just have to get back after it [Monday],’’ Grifol said.

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