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White Sox once again road-tripped up in 5-4 loss to Astros

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Updated: June 16, 2013 5:52PM

HOUSTON -- The first day was the defense, the next day it was baserunning.

On Sunday the Sox went back to the well-worn ‘we didn’t hit’ explanation for their loss, a 5-4 setback to the Houston Astros.

It was the Sox’ third in a row at Minute Maid Park, no way to start a 10-game road trip that seemingly had some winnable games on it. After one more game against the 26-24 Astros Monday night (lefty Jose Quintana pitches against the Astros’ Bud Norris), the Sox play three against the Twins and three against the Royals.

“For once, I’m speechless,” Adam Dunn said. “I don’t know why our offense is sputtering. We got the talent and everything in place. We’re not producing.’’

After left-hander Dallas Keuchel held the Sox scoreless on one hit over the first five innings, the Sox got a run in the sixth on a triple by Alejandro De Aza and a sacrifice fly by Alexei Ramirez. Dayan Viciedo tripled to open the seventh and scored on Jeff Keppinger’s single to bring the Sox within 3-2, but after Gordon Beckham (2-for-4) singled and Tyler Flowers walked to load the bases, the Sox were more or less finished. With the game on the line, De Aza struck out against Jose Cisnero and Ramirez tapped out to the mound on a check swing.

Jason Castro hit a two-run opposite-field homer to left in the seventh to put the Astros ahead 5-2. De Aza’s two-run homer against closer Jose Veras in the ninth with two outs was a case of too little, too late.

Sox lefty Hector Santiago (2-5) walked four, struck out eight and was harmed only by a three-run triple to Matt Dominguez in the second.

“It’s not like we’re being blown out,” Santiago said. “It’s one run games. You get one hit and it’s a different ballgame. With the bases loaded [in the seventh], it changes the game around. We haven’t been able to get that one clutch hit you need to turn things around in the game. You keep battling and try to keep us in the game. Feel like we’re doing that right now. Bases loaded, one out, we just need to get the job done right there.’’

The loss was the fourth in a row for the Sox (28-28), who fell to 9 1/2 games behind the first place Tigers in the American League Central. The Sox have lost 14 of their last 18. On the road, they have lost 12 of their last 13.

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