When home runs are flying out of U.S. Cellular Field, fundamentals don't seem to matter much. But when the home runs stop, as they did Sunday, fundamentals are everything.
The White Sox squandered a magnificent pitching performance by Jon Garland, had opportunities to score in seven of nine innings and ultimately lost the final game of a three-game set with the San Diego Padres 1-0.
"We had some opportunities but just really executed poorly offensively," manager Jerry Manuel said. "We had a chance to win that game 2-1, and we have to be able to win games like this."
The offense was unable to break through against San Diego starter Oliver Perez (2-3), whose only other win this season also was in Chicago, against the Cubs. Ex-Cub Rod Beck came on to work the ninth and picked up his first save since 2001 as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
"We can all take the blame," said designated hitter Frank Thomas, hitless for only the second time in the last 17 games. "[Perez] brought it to us and challenged every hitter."
Garland (4-6) was outstanding in defeat, going eight innings for the second time this season and allowing just three hits, none after the third inning. He was nicked in the third for the game's only run when he allowed a one-out single to Gary Matthews Jr., who moved to second on an infield out and scored on a single to center by Mark Loretta.
Loretta was out when the throw from center was cut off and he was run down between first and second.
"You've got to tip your hat to them," Garland said. "They pitched a good game and played a good game."
The Sox did not and paid for it. In seven of the nine innings, they put either their leadoff man on or a runner in scoring position, sometimes both.
They got nothing from two one-out walks in the first and left Paul Konerko at first after his single to lead off the second.
They were twice guilty of poor baserunning by runners in scoring position. Magglio Ordonez doubled leading off the fourth, stayed put through two outfield outs, then got a poor jump on Joe Crede's single to center and was an easy out at the plate.
Aaron Rowand doubled to lead off the fifth. But he went halfway to third on a liner by Miguel Olivo into deep left-center and could not advance when center fielder Mark Kotsay hauled in the drive running away from the infield at the warning track. Tony Graffanino then flied to left, a potential sacrifice fly.
"I should have tagged," Rowand said. "I didn't think there was any way he was going to catch it. That's nobody's fault but my own."
Two-out singles by Rowand and Olivo in the seventh went for naught as Graffanino was out looking at strike three. A walk to Ordonez and single by Carlos Lee with two outs in the eighth yielded nothing when Konerko bounced out, the first infield assist for the Padres.
Pinch-hitter Brian Daubach coaxed a walk out of Beck to open the ninth. But Rowand popped out to third bunting for a sacrifice and Armando Rios, batting for Olivo, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Padres 1, White Sox 0
Basically, Sox fail in clutch
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