CHICAGO – Loud chants of “Fire Tony!” broke out at Guaranteed Rate Field as manager Tony La Russa and the Chicago White Sox blew a five-run lead and lost to the Texas Rangers 11-9 in 10 innings on Saturday.
La Russa has been under increased scrutiny this week since ordering an unconventional intentional walk in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The White Sox won the AL Central last season, but now are just 27-30 under their 77-year-old Hall of Fame manager.
He didn’t seem fazed, though.
“I hear it with one ear and I see it with one eye,” La Russa said. “I just know I appreciate (that) they want us to win. And, when we don’t win, they’re unhappy.”
Fans took up the chants a couple more times as the crowd of 30,221 rapidly thinned out in the 10th.
“There isn’t anything that’s happening with this team that, in the end, I’m not responsible for,” La Russa said. “Never dodged accountability and I won’t start now.”
Chicago has lost three of four. Texas won for just the fourth time in its last 11 games.
Jake Burger hit a three-run homer off AL ERA leader Martín Pérez that helped the White Sox take a 5-0 lead into the fifth.
But the Rangers clawed back when Adolis García hit a three-run homer off Lucas Giolito in the fifth, then tied it at 7 on Jonah Heim’s sacrifice fly in the seventh.
“You have to be in the right place at the right time and in the moment," García said through a translator.
Nathaniel Lowe put Texas ahead with his second double of the game, a drive that began a four-run burst in the 10th. A passed ball by Reese McGuire scored another run and Marcus Semien hit a two-run single.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward credited his team’s offensive balance and an effective showing from the bullpen in erasing the deficit.
“The bullpen, innings six through nine, 11 of 12 outs on punchouts, just wiping them out,” Woodward said. “That allowed our offense the confidence to know coming in (our pitchers) are striking three in a row in the middle of their lineup.”
Texas has now completed a trio of five-run comeback wins this season.
The White Sox tagged Pérez for 12 hits and six earned runs in five innings. He began the day with a 1.56 ERA.
“Sometimes I’m not going to have my stuff and I’ve just got to go out there and compete,” Pérez said. “They had my back today and that feels pretty awesome.”
Danny Mendick’s RBI single and Andrew Vaughn’s sacrifice fly pulled Chicago within two runs in the bottom half, but Joe Barlow retired Luis Robert and José Abreu to end it.
Texas reliever Matt Moore (3-0) fanned five in two scoreless innings.
“It’s like, how much fight you got in you, right?” Moore said. “It’s easy to fold. That’s the easy thing to do, just go home and take your beating. But these guys kept battling.”
Matt Foster (1-1) took the loss.
Giolito was impressive through four innings before Garcia homered for the 12th time this year.
Kole Calhoun doubled twice for Texas.
Rangers: OF Steele Walker was the latest Texas player to get added to the COVID-19-related injured list. Texas recalled OF Zach Reks from Triple-A Round Rock in his place. C Mitch Garver, RHP Glenn Otto, LHP Brett Martin and bench coach Donnie Ecker have all been added to the list this week. ... INF/OF Josh Smith (sprained AC joint) remains day-to-day, but was throwing in the infield before the game. ... OF Willie Calhoun cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Round Rock. Texas designated him for assignment on Sunday.
White Sox: C Yasmani Grandal exited the game with left hamstring tightness after hitting his second single of the day. Grandal entered Saturday batting .185, but has seven hits and six RBIs in his last seven games. ... RHP Vince Velasquez (left groin strain) threw a simulated game. La Russa said Velasquez was “outstanding” and that he’s ready to return. “We need to bolster that bullpen,” La Russa said. ... RHP Lance Lynn (right knee tendon tear) is on track to make his first start on Tuesday in Detroit after several rehab starts for Triple-A Charlotte. “Right now on paper with Lynn coming back, this is the best our rotation has looked all season,” La Russa said. ... RHP Joe Kelly (hamstring strain) could get a rehab assignment or rejoin the team straightaway after his simulated game on Sunday. La Russa said he is “trying to be patient,” but joked that he wants Kelly’s simulated game to be a real appearance against the Rangers.
RHP Michael Kopech (2-2, 1.94 ERA) gets the start for Chicago against Texas RHP Jon Gray (1-3, 5.28 ERA) in Sunday’s series finale.
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