Visitors hit first, so before anyone could finish their first hot dog, slide into the butt-groove into their couch or snuck into their neighbor’s backyard to listen to their TV, Gavin Floyd had walked Matt Joyce after an array of wild fastballs and hung a curveball to Ben Zobrist that he blasted out to right to give the Rays a 2-o lead. That opening was emphatic enough to stick as the lasting memory for an 10-4 loss that only hinted at being interesting after it became a blowout, but it’s an odd to see Floyd’s name plastered as a decisive factor of the game, seeing as he was around for so little of its nearly four-hour duration.
That bad opening wasn’t a fluke–Floyd’s command was shaky and dumping his curveball out of the zone wasn’t doing much for his efficiency. He already had 47 pitches in the third inning when Tyler Flowers felt compelled to trot out to the mound. Flowers was soon followed by Herm Schneider and Robin Ventura, who eventually led Floyd off the field with nothing beyond Gavin’s normally sour expression as explanation. He would later be diagnosed with a flexor strain in his throwing elbow, the same injury that put him on the disabled list last year.
Before Hector Santiago could come in and deliver hot-and-cold relief work that ushered the White Sox right out of the game, the larger crisis of Matt Moore completely eviscerating the lineup had emerged. After looking all over the place in a leadoff walk in Alejandro De Aza, Moore struck out six in a row. It would be the third inning before Tyler Flowers–of all people–was the first White Sox hitter to put the ball in play. It would be the fourth inning before Adam Dunn–really, of all the people–became the first White Sox hitter to get an actual hit (an opposite field solo home run).
Paul Konerko nearly went back-to-back with Dunn, and the three seconds of excited yelps that his fly ball to the left field warning track garnered was more excitement than a lineup missing platoon specialists like Jeff Keppinger and Dayan Viciedo could conjure off Matt Moore.
Kyle Farnsworth brought intrigue to the eighth inninh. He used two walks and an infield Paul Konerko single (yes, a misplay was involved) to load the bases and let back-to-back up-the-middle bullets off the bats of Alexei Ramirez and Conor Gillaspie to keep the carousel going. A bases loaded walk to Jordan Danks–who was fantastic at working counts–brought the tying run to the plate, but De Aza’s looped line drive down the right field line dropped just foul and preceded another awful chase on breaking stuff down-and-in to end the inning and the last meaningful threat, since the leaky back-end of the Sox pen put things back out of reach with two runs in the ninth
Alex Rios’ rough night (1-5, 3K) of pulling off the ball hampered the offense all on multiple occasions. He crippled a sixth-inning mini-rally when De Aza and Tyler Greene blooped back-to-back singles with a strikeout and popped up on the first pitch in the middle of the eighth.
Meanwhile, Santiago was roused for extended emergency relief work and pitched like someone who is turned to in an emergency. After warming up like he had been woken up by explosions outside his house, he immediately gave up a double to Evan Longoria and an RBI single to James Loney, who upped his series hit total to seven on the night. Tight screwballs bought Santiago four strikeouts over 3.2 innings, but flat screwballs bought him ten hits and four earned runs over that same time period. It’s to be expected given the circumstances of his appearance.
With nothing doing on the offense, Ventura took his foot off the gas and let Santiago wear it for 86 pitches, before turning to struggling LOOGY Donnie Veal, who ate 1.2 innings in plodding fashion, and Matt Lindstrom, who stumbled in the absence of a meaningful opportunity. In all, the Sox bullpen allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 17 hits in 6.1 innings.
Team Record: 10-13
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