With Tim Anderson out of in the lineup for the 2nd straight game, the Chicago White Sox lose the series finale to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-0: ‘It was a stinker’

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tim Anderson missed his second straight game, and the Chicago White Sox didn’t get much going offensively without their spark at the top of the lineup.

The Sox had chances but couldn’t break through in a 9-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. It was the team’s largest margin of defeat since a 10-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 25, 2020.

“It’s games like this, you think about what they did right and what we didn’t, and that’s how you learn and you get better,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “There are several things that we’ll look at, whether it’s them being right or us not and use it to improve. But meanwhile, that’s an ugly loss, wasn’t any fun to be a part of it, nobody had any fun.

“We’ll get better because of getting our butts beat like this.”

The first six Rays runs came on two-out hits as the Sox dropped two of three in the series between the first-place teams.

“All the runs I allowed were with two outs,” Sox starter Reynaldo López said thorough an interpreter. “It was a tough day for everybody. It was a weird day. A lot of bloopers. A lot of bad breaks for us. That happens. We have to just move on.”

The tough breaks began before the first pitch with Anderson missing from the lineup for the third time in four games. Anderson first rested in Thursday’s series finale against the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field.

He led the Sox to Friday’s 7-5 victory in 11 innings against the Rays, going 3-for-6 with a home run, two RBIs and four runs. He tied the game with a solo home run in the ninth and put the team ahead with an RBI single in the 11th.

“His legs are still barking,” La Russa said before Sunday’s game. “We don’t want to push him. If it was October, he’d be in there. It’s more preventive, get rid of some of that fatigue and soreness. Hopefully have him ready for (Monday in Toronto).

“He’s not hurt, he’s just sore.”

La Russa described it as “just wear and tear.”

“He plays at such a high level, like Friday he’s doing something every inning where he’s really active,” La Russa said. “Those two sprints to the plate, talked to the trainer (Saturday) night and said let’s just give him another day.”

Anderson is slashing .303/.330/.460 with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs. The All-Star entered Sunday ranked seventh in the American League in batting average, tied for fifth in the AL in hits (135) and tied for ninth in runs (78).

On the other side, the Rays placed designated hitter Nelson Cruz on the COVID-19-related injured list. Cruz is hitting .198 (19-for-96) with seven home runs and 18 RBIs in 24 games since being acquired in a trade from the Minnesota Twins.

The Rays entered Sunday averaging 6.7 runs per game since Cruz’s debut. They exceeded that number Sunday, with Austin Meadows leading the way with three hits and three RBIs.

López allowed three runs on six hits in four innings. He struck out four.

“I feel good with my stuff,” López said. “I was pretty good today and I had pretty good command with (my) slider, fastball. But that happens. Sometimes you feel very good and things don’t go your way. Sometimes you don’t feel that good and things go your way. This is baseball. You have throw (away) the day and move on.”

La Russa said there were teaching points for the Sox on the mound and at the plate.

One of the team’s best scoring chance came in the sixth. Trailing 3-0, Eloy Jiménez singled and Yoán Moncada doubled, giving the Sox runners on second and third with two outs. Reliever Chris Mazza struck out Andrew Vaughn to end the threat.

The Rays broke the game open in the sixth on a two-out, three-run double by Francisco Mejía. Sox pitchers allowed 22 runs on the weekend, their most in a three-game series this season.

The Sox and Rays split their six regular-season meetings. Time will tell if they meet again in postseason.

“We competed, we’ve got Toronto (next), another challenge,” La Russa said. “But you play a big-league club and there is big-league execution that you have to have. They do it to you, you do it to them. The night that you’re a better club, you do it more often.

“But I’m just into the moment: It was a stinker.”

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