Baserunning blunders costly for White Sox in 4-3 loss to Royals
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN September 20, 2012 10:07PM
Chicagao White Sox v Kansas City Royals
SOX AT ANGELS
The facts: 9:05, Ch. 9, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: Jake Peavy (11-11, 3.26 ERA) vs. Ervin Santana (8-12, 5.08).
The rest of the series
Saturday: 8:05 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. Jose Quintana (6-4, 3.69) vs. Dan Haren (11-11, 4.41).
Sunday: 2:35 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. Gavin Floyd (10-10, 4.50) vs. Jered Weaver (18-4, 2.79).
Updated: October 22, 2012 6:34AM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the end, an 0-2 fastball from Matt Thornton to Eric Hosmer finished off the White Sox. Hosmer poked it down the third-base line to score pinch runner Jarrod Dyson with two outs in the ninth to give the Kansas City Royals a 4-3 victory.
And at the end, when the Royals were celebrating walk-off style their 12th win in 18 games against the Sox, two earlier baserunning mistakes loomed large.
“You keep shooting yourself in the foot like that,’’ manager Robin Ventura said of Alex Rios getting thrown out easily at home and Alexei Ramirez getting picked off at third — a day after the Sox shot themselves in the foot by going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. “You have opportunities and don’t take advantage of them, eventually a team like this is going to come back and get you.”
Rios, batting cleanup on a night Paul Konerko took what he said was a one-day rest for a stiff back, was out easily at home trying to score in the third inning on a pitch that squirted away from catcher Salvador Perez. Rios had led off with a double.
An inning later, Perez picked off Ramirez at third. The Sox were leading nemesis Jeremy Guthrie 3-0 at the time, and in both cases, the outs were the second of the inning. That added significance while the Sox were scratching out a total of three singles in the last six innings.
Perez is nobody to mess with. He has five pickoffs this year and eight in his career, breaking Darrell Porter’s club record from 1977 to ’80.
“I don’t know if we got quicksand at third,’’ Ventura said. “We seem to lose a few guys over there.”
Rios hesitated, and he knew when he kept on going that was his mistake.
“In that situation, I had to know there was just one out,’’ Rios said. “I could have scored with a fly ball or anything. You hesitate and you don’t get a good read, and bad stuff happens when you do that. That’s what happened.’’
Kevin Youkilis, batting sixth, singled after Rios was out. A.J. Pierzynski, who had two singles, an RBI and was robbed of extra bases by center fielder Jason Bourgeois, had moved Rios to third with a grounder to the right side.
Ventura said Rios was trying to do too much, just as Dewayne Wise was when he tried to advance to third on a would-be sacrifice fly by Adam Dunn against the Tigers on Monday. If the pressure of a pennant race is affecting the Sox’ approach at the plate, or the bases for that matter — Ventura has been emphasizing the need to score in more ways than the home run — Youkilis has a solution: Stop thinking about it.
“If we keep emphasizing it and keep talking about it, guys are going to panic and think too much,’’ Youkilis said. “So you have to get it off your mind, just play the game and not worry about. The more that keeps getting pressed out there, that we’re leaving runners in scoring position, guys think about it instead of thinking about having good at-bats.
“Our focus should be on having good at-bats, not worrying about driving guys in, but having good approaches. That usually will pay off.’’
On the bright side, Wise, Gordon Beckham and starting pitcher Francisco Liriano made stellar defensive plays. And the Sox still lead the Tigers by two games in the American League Central with 13 to play. They face the Angels on the road this weekend.
“I love where we’re at,’’ Youkilis said. “Two games up is better than two games behind. We control our own destiny.’’