“Instantly,” a fan yelled after Amed Rosario beat out Chicago White Sox third baseman Juan Moncada’s throw to first in the first inning on Wednesday.
The Cleveland Guardians put it on display.
The Sox didn’t play up to that level and found themselves in dire straits after an 8-2 loss in front of 22,606 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“We didn’t play well,” said acting manager Miguel Cairo. “They played better than us. Simple as that. They came to play. We didn’t.”
It was a tough evening defensively for Moncada, who was blamed for an error on the Guardians’ first two runs. And it was an unimpressive performance all around for the Sox, who fell six games behind the Guardians in the American League Central with 13 games remaining.
“Nothing surprises me, especially when you play like (bleep) all year,” Sox starter Lance Lynn said when asked about the drop in the standings. “It feels like we’ve been playing six all year. We’ve still got some time left, but we put ourselves in a hole, that’s for sure.
Cleveland’s magic number is seven.
“We have to put it behind us,” Cairo said of Wednesday’s game. “We’ve got to come back. I’m not giving up. They’re not giving up. We’re going to come back and play it again.
“The season’s not over. We’ve still got to come out and play hard, the way we’re supposed to play.
The Sox have lost the first two of a crucial three-game series.
Tuesday’s game was a tight contest. 10-7 loss in 11 innings. Sox stumbled out the door on Wednesday and never recovered.
Moncada said of Rosario’s infield hit through a spokesman: “I didn’t want to get into a hard bounce. That was my read on the ground ball, just prepare to back off and then try to rush it at the end. .
The Sox nearly got out of a bases-loaded situation for the first time when Oscar Gonzalez hit a grounder to third. Moncada stepped on the bag but didn’t make a clean throw to first, trying to complete a double play. Steven Cowan scored on a play while Josh Naylor advanced to third on a throwing error.
Naylor scored on Andres Gimenez’s infield hit on a ball Moncada could not field.
Moncada narrowly avoided a collision with left fielder Andrew Vaughn on Naylor’s popup to start the third. Vaughan did not take the catch and was charged with an error.
“I was running after the ball, trying to catch it, but as soon as I heard him call for the ball, I tried to get out of his way,” Moncada said.
Naylor scored on a Gimenez single, the first of three Guardian runs in the inning.
Kwan hit a solo homer in the fourth against Lynn, making it 6-0.
“I’ve got to get better,” Lynn said. “I gave up runs early, put us in a hole. (Guardians starter Tristan McKenzie) got into a groove. We were playing from the back from the get-go, trying to do things aggressively. His breakdown gear was on. I have to get better at the beginning of the game.
“I was behind in the count, I didn’t have the best stuff and I missed a lot of hits and it just didn’t work.”
Lynn (7-6) allowed six runs, three earned, nine hits and a walk in six innings with three strikeouts.
“He battled and he gave us six innings,” Cairo said. “It’s hard to pitch when you make pitches and we don’t make plays.” But he fought there.
Naylor added two runs in the seventh on Jose Ruiz’s ball.
Moncada homered in the fourth and Gavin Sheets had an RBI single in the seventh for the Sox. Otherwise, McKenzie was in control, allowing two runs on six hits with 13 strikeouts and no walks in eight innings.
“He’s a tough pitcher,” Cairo said. “He’s pitching really well. When you’re down and facing him, he’s tough. One of the best pitchers they’ve had.”
The Sox have another game against the Guardians on Thursday, with Johnny Cueto starting against Shane Bieber.
“When it’s all said and done, you’ve got to save the series, win (Thursday), make sure you don’t get in any way,” Lynn said. Go,” Lynn said, “and then we’ve got to hope for some help from them. Other teams and consistently play well down the stretch.