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MICENTRAL.COM “brought to you by the Michigan Newspaper Network”  

Jul 23, 12:38 AM EDT

White Sox blow late lead in 3-2 loss to Cardinals


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CHICAGO (AP) -- David Robertson felt it was a good pitch, and Yadier Molina agreed with the closer.

The result was another difficult night for the Chicago White Sox.

Robertson yielded a bases-loaded triple to Molina with two out in the eighth inning, sending the White Sox to a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

"A triple from a catcher is a tough one to take," Robertson said. "He's a good hitter. I don't know what else to say, I threw my best pitch and he got me."

Randal Grichuk singled, Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch and Jason Heyward reached on catcher's interference before Molina drove a 2-2 pitch into the corner in right for his third hit of the game.

"It was an unfortunate eighth inning," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You get a hit batter and a catcher's interference, something odd there, and Yadi with the big hit."

Molina is batting .429 (9 for 21) in his last four games. It was the first triple for the veteran catcher since May 22, 2011, and No. 4 for his career.

"I think it was a cutter, right on the corner away. I was looking for something middle, middle away," Molina said. "It was a good pitch. I mean I just got lucky to put the bat on the ball and got lucky to find a hole."

Miguel Socolovich (4-1) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win. Kevin Siegrist struck out Adam LaRoche with runners on the corners for the final out in the eighth, and Trevor Rosenthal finished for his 29th save in 31 chances.

The last-place White Sox (42-50) have dropped four straight and six of seven. Zach Duke (3-4) got two outs in the eighth before he was replaced by Robertson, and Tyler Flowers struck out three times in addition to his costly miscue behind the plate that put Heyward on in the eighth.

John Danks pitched 6 2/3 innings of five-hit ball for Chicago, extending his scoreless streak to 12 2/3 innings over his last two starts. The left-hander struck out five and walked none.

"I would have liked to have gone deeper, but I feel like I did my job," he said. "I turned it over to a really good bullpen. Good players on a good team found a way to beat us."

Danks and Lance Lynn were locked in a scoreless duel before Chicago pushed across two runs in the sixth, helped by a miscue for Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta. With runners on first and second and no outs, Peralta juggled Tyler Saladino's potential double-play grounder as he tried to get the ball out of his glove, leaving no chance for second baseman Kolten Wong to get the speedy rookie at first.

Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera followed with consecutive RBI singles, lifting the White Sox to a 2-0 lead. Lynn then struck out Avisail Garcia and retired LaRoche on a fly ball to the warning track in center.

SLUMPING

LaRoche went 0 for 4 and is batting .148 (8 for 54) with no homers and two RBIs in July.

"It's confusing, frustrating," LaRoche said before the game. "I'll go and figure it out for an at-bat or two, and then it's gone, where in the past I've been able to figure it out and maybe hold onto it for a while."

LaRoche hit .259 with 26 homers and 92 RBIs last season with Washington, and then agreed to a $25 million, two-year contract with Chicago in November. Spending most of his time at designated hitter for the first time in his career, he is batting .218 with nine homers with the White Sox.

"You're always looking at a guy that has been in the league this long and you can't really put your finger on it," Ventura said. "It can be a slight mechanical thing - and that's not having seen him really in the past so you can look at video all you want but sometimes you look at something, you kind of throw it at him to see if maybe it'll click, an idea, a mechanical thing. But it can just be not seeing it very well. The combination of those can be tough."

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP John Lackey (8-5, 2.90 ERA) gets the ball when St. Louis begins an 11-game homestand Thursday night against Kansas City in the makeup of a June 14 rainout. RHP Chris Young (8-5, 3.03 ERA) starts for the Royals in a matchup of the teams with the best record in each league.

White Sox: RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-5, 4.08 ERA) makes what could be his final start for Chicago when the White Sox open a four-game series at Cleveland on Thursday night. Samardzija is a possible trade target ahead of the July 31 non-waiver deadline. RHP Trevor Bauer (8-6, 4.03 ERA) pitches for the Indians.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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