Published November 20, 2014
Without a scuffling Josh Hamilton in the lineup, the Texas Rangers failed to come up with a clutch hit against the Chicago White Sox.
The Rangers mustered just five hits and went 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position in a 5-2 loss to the White Sox on Saturday night.
While the Rangers offense was looking for that timely hit, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko each hit two-run homers to help the White Sox win their fifth in a row.
"The biggest thing is not necessarily focusing on the result of the at-bats," Texas' Michael Young said. "It's playing our style of baseball and making sure offensively we're doing things that we're accustomed to doing."
Hamilton sat out after Rangers manager Ron Washington elected to give his slumping slugger a mental break. Hamilton is batting .145 in July and heard rare boos from his home fans after striking out twice Friday night.
Adrian Beltre moved into Hamilton's third spot in the batting order, and rookie Leonys Martin played left field.
The Rangers also shuffled the middle of their lineup. Nelson Cruz hit fourth for the second time in two years, David Murphy was in the fifth spot and Michael Young batted sixth.
Those moves didn't help the suddenly light-hitting Rangers. They are 1 for 21 in the series with runners in scoring position.
"If we start swinging the bat with some runners in scoring position, we can turn this thing around." Washington said. "That's what's killing us right now."
Chicago rookie Eduardo Escobar had two hits, including an RBI double in a three-run fifth. He was then included in a trade to Minnesota for left-hander Francisco Liriano after the fame.
Escobar and minor-league pitching prospect Pedro Hernandez were sent to the Twins in a deal that was announced after the game.
"Everybody loves (Escobar)," Konerko said. "He's probably going to play every day and become a household name over there."
Chicago increased its AL Central lead to 2½ games over Detroit. The White Sox have won the first two in a three-game series between division leaders.
Philip Humber (5-5) didn't allow a hit through three innings and won for the second time in three starts. He yielded one run, four hits and struck out four.
"I felt like we had a good game plan coming in," Humber said. "There were some good plays made behind me or else it could have been a different game."
The White Sox had two rookies and backup catcher Tyler Flowers in the lineup, but offensive leaders Dunn and Konerko came through with the big hits to sink the Rangers.
Harrison allowed only a walk through three innings before Chicago broke through. Dunn singled off Ian Kinsler's glove at second base with one out in the fourth. Konerko followed with a 416-foot drive to left, his 17th home run of the season.
Konerko is 10 for 19 with three home runs and seven RBIs over his last five games.
The White Sox broke the game open with three runs in the fifth, capped by Dunn's major league-leading 31st home run.
Matt Harrison (12-6), who lost his second straight start, gave up five runs and seven hits in seven innings. The left-hander walked three and struck out four.
Mike Napoli had a solo homer and an RBI groundout for Texas, which dropped its fifth in a row to the White Sox.
"We're scuffling right now," Harrison said "But we've gotta keep our heads up and keep going."
The Rangers offensive struggles were most evident in the seventh.
Young tripled leading off and Napoli followed with a walk that ended Humber's night.
Jesse Crain inherited the first-and-third jam. He struck out Martin and Craig Gentry, then got some help from his defense. Dayan Viciedo made a diving catch of Kinsler's looping fly in shallow left to end the inning.
NOTES: Chicago OF Alejandro De Aza (sprained left wrist) and SS Alexei Ramirez (bruised left hand) didn't play one day after being involved in a scary outfield collision. While neither injury is considered serious, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said De Aza likely wouldn't play Sunday, either. ... C A.J. Pierzynski missed his fourth straight game with a right oblique strain. ... Texas RHP Neftali Feliz will make his fourth rehab appearance Sunday for Triple-A Round Rock. He is expected to throw about 80 pitches. ... Chicago's Gavin Floyd (8-8) will face Texas' Scott Feldman (4-6) in the series finale Sunday.