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White Sox fail to generate much offense, fall to Rangers

Published: Monday, April 9, 2012 2:02 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)
Chicago White Sox's Gordon Beckham (15) is tagged out by Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre (29) after Paul Konerko grounded to pitcher Matt Harrison at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, April 8, 2012.

ARLINGTON, Texas (MCT) — White Sox manager Robin Ventura has made a concerted effort to give his reserve players a start early in the season to eliminate any anxiety.

Kosuke Fukudome could become the final Sox player to receive a start Monday night, and the sight of not having to face a left-hander will finally seem appetizing to a Sox offense that has struggled to sustain rallies.

Left-hander Matt Harrison blanked the Sox for six innings Sunday night, and his ability to harness the Sox’s left-handed hitters enabled him to seize a 5-0 victory at Rangers Ballpark.

In dropping two of three to the two-time defending American League champions, the Sox scored only six runs and were 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position.

A.J. Pierzynski worked Harrison for an 11-pitch at-bat in the second inning, and Alexei Ramirez forced Harrison to throw a 10-pitch at-bat to start the third. But Harrison was at his best against the Sox’s left-handed hitters — Alejandro De Aza, Adam Dunn and Pierzynski — who were a combined 0-for-9 against him.

Rookie Eduardo Escobar started at third base and gave the Sox some energy by legging out a triple to right-center with two outs in the fifth. But De Aza grounded to second to end the rally.

Gordon Beckham, the Sox’s third No. 2 hitter in as many games, led off the fourth with a double. But Dunn managed only a grounder to first that advanced Beckham to third. But he was cut down on a Paul Konerko fielder’s choice. Alex Rios walked, but Pierzynski grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Trailing 3-0 in the sixth, the Sox forged a rally when Konerko singled with two outs and moved up on a walk by Rios. But Pierzynski struck out to end the threat.

In addition to Harrison, the Sox were haunted by former AL MVP Josh Hamilton. Pierzynski was robbed of a hit in the second when Hamilton made a diving catch in center field, and Hamilton sprinted to the gap in left-center to make a diving catch of De Aza’s drive to end the seventh.

Hamilton crushed the most prolific of three home runs hit against Sox starter Gavin Floyd, a 441-foot shot to lead off the sixth.

Floyd retired the first six batters before David Murphy yanked a pitch that landed in the upper deck for the Rangers’ first run, and Adrian Beltre connected on a two-run shot in the fourth that landed in the Rangers’ bullpen in right-center.

Ventura said third baseman Brent Morel, who didn’t start after going 0-for-8 with four strikeouts, will return to the lineup Monday night in Cleveland.

Reliever Nate Jones made his major league debut in the seventh and struck out Hamilton with a runner at third.

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