A struggling offense makes poor defense very difficult to overcome. The Chicago White Sox learned that lesson the hard way on Friday.
The White Sox look to rebound from a season-worst four errors on Saturday when they continue a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The White Sox (20-18) were on their way to their ninth win in 12 games Friday with a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. A passed ball by Toby Hall, though, contributed to a two-out, three-run rally for the Cubs (19-21), who added two more runs in the eighth with the help of two errors on their way to a 6-3 victory.
“He’s (Mike MacDougal) got a nasty slider and you got a guy on third, your emotions and body and everything is going and normally I catch that,” Hall said. “That’s something that gets caught all the time. It’s just one of those things.”
Hall had two errors and a passed ball in his season debut. He had been out of the lineup while recovering from a dislocated right shoulder suffered in spring training.
It was the first four-error game for the White Sox since Aug. 29, 2005 against Texas.
Although they began Friday with eight wins in 11 games, the White Sox continue to have trouble scoring. They have been held to three runs or fewer in five of their last eight contests and rank last in the majors with a .222 batting average.
Angel Pagan keyed the Cubs’ three-run seventh with a tying two-run triple, his third hit of the game. Aramis Ramirez also had three hits for the Cubs, who returned home after losing five of seven on the road.
The Cubs and closer Ryan Dempster rebounded from Thursday’s deflating 6-5 loss to the New York Mets, who scored five runs in the ninth inning. Dempster worked a perfect ninth Friday after allowing all five runs in one-third of an inning in his previous appearance.
“The atmosphere is wonderful here at Wrigley Field all the time. I really enjoyed myself,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “We needed a win after yesterday’s tough loss.”
Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, who leads the majors with a .390 average, could return to the lineup Saturday after missing five games with a sore neck. He is hitting .366 (15-of-41) with three homers and five doubles against Javier Vazquez.
Vazquez (2-2, 3.86 ERA) hopes to win for the first time in more than a month when he gets the ball for the White Sox. The right-hander is winless in five starts since beating Cleveland on April 13, going 0-2 with a 4.69 ERA during that span. Vazquez allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings Sunday in an 11-1 loss to Kansas City.
He is 3-3 with a 5.04 ERA in 12 career starts against the Cubs. In his first start against the Cubs with the White Sox, Vazquez was reached for five runs and 11 hits over six innings on July 1 before leaving without a decision as the White Sox won 8-6 at Wrigley.
Jason Marquis (5-1, 2.22) looks to rebound from one of his worst starts for the Cubs. The right-hander failed to hold a four-run lead Monday against the Mets and was denied his sixth straight win, allowing four runs over five innings in a 5-4 loss.
Marquis, second in the NL in opponents’ batting average (.186), is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA in four home starts this season.
Marquis would rather forget his last start against the White Sox, a 13-5 loss on June 21 while pitching for St. Louis. He was tagged for a career-high 13 runs and 14 hits in five innings in that game.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen may want to insert reserve outfielder Rob Mackowiak into his lineup. Mackowiak is 11-for-27 (.407) against Marquis.