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Sunday, July 29, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, White Sox 0

By Clinton Foster



ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Chicago White Sox failed to complete a sweep, falling 2-0 to the Texas Rangers in the final game of their three-game series. Gavin Floyd posted his 10th quality start of the season, but took the loss as the recently hot Chicago bats fell silent.

What it means: With the loss, the White Sox's lead in the AL Central is cut to 1 1/2 games over the Detroit Tigers. Chicago still takes a win in the three-game series against Texas and takes a 55-45 record into Minnesota on Monday.

Disappearing act: The White Sox's offense, which had been instrumental in grabbing their previous two wins in this three-game series, virtually went missing on Sunday. Scott Feldman shut down the Sox's bats, posting an eight-inning shutout, tying a career-high in innings pitched. The last time Feldman pitched eight innings was against the White Sox on June 2, 2010 in Chicago. Hits were few and far between as Chicago had seven hits and six strikeouts. Chicago also left six men on base and only had one extra base hit. Jordan Danks was the only White Sox hitter to have multiple hits, going 2-for-3.

Offensive struggles: After winning an offensive shootout against the Rangers on Friday, the White Sox found themselves in the thick of a defensive battle for much of Saturday's game. Both teams were hitless through the first three innings and the Rangers were scoreless through four. The Sox got on the board in the fourth thanks to a Paul Konerko two-run homer and were able to keep the offense going for the fourth and fifth innings. The bats mostly struggled for the rest of the game. Outside of the fourth and fifth innings, the Sox had two hits and had all three batters strikeout in the ninth inning.

Humber humbles Rangers: Philip Humber pitched one of his best games since his perfect game against the Seattle Mariners in April. He pitched six innings and allowed four hits (one home run), one run, two walks and four strikeouts. His hits and runs allowed were his lowest totals since May 13 against the Kansas City Royals. He was hitless through three innings, scoreless through four and had 1-2-3 innings in the second and sixth. He ran into some trouble in the seventh, allowing a leadoff triple and a walk before he was pulled. But Jesse Crain relieved him and closed out the inning with consecutive strikeouts and a flyout to preserve Humber's fifth win of the season.

Costly mistakes: Chicago allowed the Rangers to get on the scoreboard twice because of some costly defensive mistakes. First in the third inning, Gavin Floyd issued Josh Hamilton his second consecutive walk with one out and later gave up a single to David Murphy that moved Hamilton to third base. Mike Napoli then reached first and Hamilton scored on an error when Alexei Ramirez couldn't handle a routine ground ball. Then, with the Rangers up 1-0 in the fifth inning, Nelson Cruz hit a leadoff double and reached third on an ensuing groundout from Hamilton. Michael Young then grounded out to the Floyd, but Floyd didn't look Cruz back to third, and Adam Dunn's throw home was off the mark and not in time, allowing Cruz to score and put Texas up 2-0.

Dodging bullets: Despite the mistakes that scored runs, the White Sox also dodged some major bullets on defense early in the game. The Rangers loaded the bases in both the first and second innings and failed to bring a single runner home with some of their best hitters at the plate. Both runs to load the bases started with singles and ended with Floyd walking a batter. In the first inning, Michael Young was at the plate with the bases loaded and grounded out to Ramirez. The second inning ended on Adrian Beltre's second consecutive pop-up into the glove of Gordon Beckham at second base.

Pedestrian outing: A quality start from Gavin Floyd wasn't enough to net a win for the Sox. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits, two runs (one earned) and threw one strikeout. The stat that stuck out the most though was his five walks, two of which loaded the bases and one of which scored. It was the third time that Floyd allowed five walks this month.

Hitless: Some of the White Sox best hitters were hitless in Sunday's game, including Kevin Youkilis, Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo.

Welcome to Texas: The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington proved to be a pretty hostile place for the White Sox to play on Sunday. The temperature in Arlington for first pitch was 104 degrees and didn't fall much even after the sun set. That didn't discourage a sellout crowd of 46,744 from coming out to support the Rangers.

Up next:
Mon at Minn: LHP Jose Quintana (4-1, 2.58) vs. RHP Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.64), 7:10 p.m.