If the White Sox need a wake-up call before completing this three-game series, they need only to review some of their shortcomings Wednesday night in a listless 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Sox never recovered from a first-inning deficit in which they stranded two runners before two of their three errors led to a pair of Dodgers runs.
"We've got to worry about ourselves and get back to playing good baseball," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said after the Sox's lead in the American League Central was cut to one-half game over Minnesota.
"We've got to get a way to get going on the road. It's been a weird year. We started out so well on the road, and now we can't do anything on the road."
The Sox were stymied by 28-year-old Eric Stults, who allowed four hits in throwing a complete-game shutout in his 20th major-league appearance. For the Sox, it was the eighth time they have been blanked this season. Only Detroit, with nine, has such a lack of success among AL teams.
"It seems like every time we face someone we don't know, he gives us trouble," manager Ozzie Guillen said.
The Sox, who fell to 14-12 in games against left-handed starters, face lefty Clayton Kershaw in Thursday's series finale before returning to U.S. Cellular Field to play the Cubs this weekend.
Third baseman Joe Crede is expected to return to the Sox's starting lineup after missing the last two games with lower back stiffness.
Crede said he felt discomfort from either the Sox's plane ride Monday night or from a combination of things but ruled out that the discomfort was a residual effect from last June's season-ending back surgery.
"It was just stiffness, not really too many sharp pains to worry about," said Crede, adding the decision to sit Tuesday and Wednesday was merely precautionary.
Crede will take over for Pablo Ozuna, who committed a throwing error in the sixth. Ozuna's miscue, however, didn't hurt the Sox as much as two errors in the first.
Pierzynski's throwing error on a steal attempt enabled Juan Pierre to go to third, where he scored on Andre Ethier's single.
Right fielder Jermaine Dye, whom Guillen touted as an AL All-Star candidate because of his recent hitting surge, dropped Jeff Kent's deep fly for a two-base error that advanced Ethier to third.
The miscue snapped Dye's 98-game errorless streak. Kent was the sixth batter to reach base on an error against Sox starter Gavin Floyd (8-4), who allowed an RBI single to Russell Martin to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Floyd worked out of the jam but has been the victim of a major-league high 13 unearned runs this season.
The Sox advanced only one runner past first base after the first inning, which was their only serious scoring threat off Stults.
With one out, Pierzynski hit a single and advanced to third when Dye ripped a single off the outstretched glove of first baseman James Loney with two out.
But Nick Swisher flied to center, and Stults retired 10 of the next 11 batters until Alexei Ramirez led off the fifth with a single.
With one out and trailing 5-0, Floyd laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Ramirez to second, but Orlando Cabrera flied to right to end the inning.
Stults (2-0) allowed one hit over the final four innings.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun