White Sox let early five-run lead get away, fall to Mariners in 10


Everyone around the White Sox has an eye on the future and “the process’’ of rebuilding a winner.

But the front office and coaching staff haven’t lost sight of what the process must lead to.

“I do think as we talk about ‘process,’ you’re still trying to reach a finality where players will be able to execute — when you get to where you’re supposed to be as a player,’’ manager Rick Renteria said.

“You have to be able to attain a certain performance level. This is the major leagues, and it’s about performance.’’

Nelson Cruz hits a home run in the 10th inning Sunday that lifted the Mariners to a 7-6 victory. | David Banks/Getty Images

As much as Renteria will praise his team for continuing to “grind’’ daily, it’s the shaky performances on the field that are undermining getting to the finish line these days.

It happened again Sunday, when the Sox gave starter Derek Holland a five-run lead in the first three innings, only to have a series of errors help Seattle tie it in the fifth inning and take a one-run lead in the sixth. The Mariners prevailed 7-6 in 10 innings.

The five-run lead was the largest surrendered by the Sox this season and led to a three-game sweep by Seattle, the third time the Sox have been swept at home.

Holland hurt himself with a mistake pitch in the fifth to Danny Valencia, who hit a three-run homer in the four-run inning.

But an error by shortstop Tim Anderson — his major-league-leading 21st — was part of the reason the Mariners stayed alive in the inning.

“We made [Holland] throw a few more pitches,’’ Renteria said. “If he gets that breaking ball down to Valencia, maybe he gets by unscathed.’’

Then two errors on the same play by center fielder Alen Hanson in the sixth contributed to a bases-loaded situation before a wild pitch by reliever Anthony Swarzak scored the tiebreaking run.

The Sox, who lost their fourth in a row, came back in the seventh with a run, but Nelson Cruz’s homer in the 10th off Chris Beck (1-1) decided the outcome.

“I talked to the guys about [playing clean baseball],’’ Renteria said. ‘‘A backhanded fielding play that got away [Anderson’s error] and bobbles in center, they add on more work for the pitcher.

“You want to play as clean as possible.’’

There were bright spots — two homers by Avisail Garcia, another one by Omar Narvaez and even a fielding gem by Holland, who tossed his glove to first baseman Jose Abreu when Robinson Cano’s liner got stuck in it in the fourth.

But they didn’t prevent the Sox from falling a season-worst 14 games below .500 (38-52).

“One pitch killed me,’’ Holland said. “If I make that pitch [to Valencia], people would say, wow, you made a good pitch.

“But I’m not going to beat myself up. The guys were doing their jobs on offense. We went to extra innings. We never quit.’’

Holland is 0-3 with a 9.51 ERA and seven home runs allowed in his last five starts.

And the Sox’ starting staff as a whole has a less-than-admirable 5.80 ERA in the last 48 games.

“Everyone wants to do their best,’’ Garcia said. ‘‘Sometimes you do, and sometimes you don’t. It’s part of the game.

“We have another game Tuesday. We have to keep fighting. That’s all we can do.’’

Keeping up the fight is what the front office expects, Renteria said — even in a rebuild.

“The organization desires a particular way of playing the game,’’ Renteria said. “Basically, it’s what the game is asking us to do. It’s not new.’’

Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.



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