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.