CHICAGO — Elvis Andrus and Luis Robert stood at second and first base, respectively, representing the potential tying and winning runs for the Chicago White Sox.
Manager Tony La Russa called on Leury García to hit for Seby Zavala with one out and the Sox trailing by a run in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
García sliced Ian Kennedy’s 1-1 pitch to left, but it landed foul — another example in a season filled with what could have been — and the at-bat ended with a strikeout.
Kennedy then struck out Romy Gonzalez to end the game as the Sox completed a dismal weekend against the Diamondbacks with a 3-2 loss in front of 29,781 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Sox lost all three games to the Diamondbacks, who are in fourth place in the National League West, and have dropped nine of 11.
“Last 11, I don’t know how many it’s been, but I know within some of those, we’ve been right there,” Sox third baseman Josh Harrison said. “We’ve had some chances to tie the game up, win the game, fallen short. A bounce here or there, a pitch here or there.
“It’s frustrating because you want to win. We show up every day to win and it hasn’t gone our way. But like I said, you’ve got to show up every day.”
With the late August tumble, the Sox are two games under .500 at 63-65 and in third place in the American League Central, trailing the division-leading Cleveland Guardians by five games.
Asked if there was frustration after the series, Sox manager Tony La Russa said: “No. I just get angry. I don’t like frustration, discouragement. That’s loser crap. Just seeps energy out of your body, distracts. I just get angry and want to do something about it.”
The Sox wasted a fantastic outing from starter Dylan Cease, who allowed two runs on two hits in a career-high eight innings.
“That’s as good as he’s been all year,” La Russa said.
Cease struck out eight and walked one. Both hits were solo home runs.
“It was a solid game, especially from an execution standpoint,” Cease said. “I’m happy I was limiting walks. I thought I was more focused. I really wanted to command my fastball and I got in a good flow and it really made a big difference.”
Stone Garrett’s solo homer to center, just out of Adam Engel’s reach, gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead in the second.
The Sox took the lead with two in the sixth. José Abreu singled, moved to third on a double by Andrew Vaughn and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Gavin Sheets. Vaughn advanced to third on the fly and scored on an infield hit by AJ Pollock as the ball deflected off Diamondbacks starter Zach Davies.
The Diamondbacks tied the game on Sergio Alcántara’s solo homer against Cease with one out in the eighth.
“I hit my spot,” Cease said. “Sometimes you have to tip your cap.”
Reliever Kendall Graveman walked two in the ninth and the Diamondbacks went ahead on a two-out double by Jake McCarthy.
Andrus doubled with one out in the ninth and Eloy Jiménez, who pinch hit for Engel, walked. Robert, limited because of a sprained left wrist, ran for Jiménez.
The Sox went with the switch-hitting García, who is slashing .209/.234/.271, to bat from the left side against the right-hander Kennedy.
“I thought he would get a fastball to hit and he did,” La Russa said. “He hit one just foul. And I knew we’d get Romy an at-bat because (García) would be tough to double up. One thing about Seby, if he hits a ground ball, that’s the last hitter we have (because of a potential game-ending double play).”
The Sox came up empty.
“I don’t think anybody is not coming to show effort,” Harrison said. “But given where we’ve been the past 1½ weeks, a little frustration built up. Trying to score runs, catching some tough breaks here and there. Some tough plays.
“At the end of the day we’ve got to play better as a whole. Not to single any play, any pitch, anything. Baseball is a game of consistency, and realistically we haven’t been as consistent as we should.”
The Sox are off Monday before continuing the homestand against the Kansas City Royals.
“Got to keep plugging away,” Harrison said. “The frustration, anger, it’s going to be different emotions for people. Needless to say, we’re not in a good spot as a whole.
“Baseball is a game that you can’t hang your head. ... It’s a long season. There are ebbs and flows and part of being a professional is showing up every day. Regardless of what’s happened in the past, you’ve got to bring it.”