The White Sox reached a new low Saturday night, and that was even after they were held to three hits through six innings against Lucas Harrell, whom they waived two years ago.
The latest chapter to their 11-week debacle occurred when pinch-runner Jordan Danks — representing the tying run — was picked off second base to complete a 4-3 loss to the Astros.
“We just have to clean it up,” manager Robin Ventura said after the Sox lost their third consecutive game and for the 11th time in their last 12 road games. “Once you figure out one thing, something else happens.”
At the rate the Sox are playing, the only suspense will involve how soon they will break up the nucleus and start a rebuilding mode similar to the Astros, who benefited from Harrell’s pitching.
The Sox failed to score the tying run from third base in the seventh and eighth. Danks, pinch-running for Dayan Viciedo, stole second with no outs but watched Gordon Beckham and Tyler Flowers strike out. Before closer Jose Veras threw a pitch to Alejandro De Aza, Danks wandered far enough off second to attract a throw and was tagged on his left arm.
“I knew it was close,” said Danks, who argued his case with umpire Dana DeMuth. “I told him I’m not saying it wasn’t close, but I didn’t think it was close enough to end the game that way. But what are you going to do about it?”
Replays validated DeMuth’s call, which capped an array of frustration for the Sox
Harrell, who spent 7½ seasons in the Sox’s organization, struck out a season-high seven. Jason Castro, the nephew of Sox special assignment scout Alan Regier, snapped a 1-1 tie with a home run in the fourth.
Two batters later, Chris Carter, whom the Sox traded before the 2008 season to Arizona for slugger Carlos Quentin, hit a homer off left-hander John Danks.
John Danks showed restraint when asked about being pulled after six-plus innings and 76 pitches.
“It’s not my decision to make,” he said. “I don’t know.”
Ventura said he pulled Danks because he wanted right-hander Matt Lindstrom to face right-handed hitter Ronny Cedeno, who grounded into a double play.
Harrell, meanwhile, lent some insight about playing for a franchise that traded veterans like reliever Brett Myers (to the Sox) and went into a rebuilding mode.
“It’s always tough when you see a veteran guy move on,” Harrell said Friday. “They’ve established themselves and they’ve helped you out in several ways, sometimes just by watching them.”
Harrell, however, realizes that some of the veterans are with the Astros on a short-term basis while the younger players and prospects attempt to develop into bigger roles.
“Hopefully we’ll be the ones here for three to four years and sign long-term deals,” Harrell said. “I love it here.”