White Sox’ Chris Flexen roughed up by light-hitting Diamondbacks in 7-1 loss


PHOENIX — In addition to possessing the major league’s worst record, the White Sox found a way to cure the hitting miseries of some of the Diamondbacks’ worst hitters.

Tucker Barnhart, who entered Friday night’s game with a .140 batting average with 24 strikeouts in 57 at-bats, collected two hits, including a two-run single in the second inning that gave the Diamondbacks the lead for good as the Sox fell 7-1 for their fifth loss in their last six games.

Eugenio Suarez, now part of a rotation at third base with Blaze Alexander after batting .195, smacked a home run that sparked a three-run fourth that knocked out Sox starter Chris Flexen (2-6).

“That was a rough one,” said Flexen, who had posted a 3.00 ERA over his last three starts. “I thought my stuff was terrible. Terrible execution, especially in big moments. That’s one I’ll try to flush.”

The Sox (18-53) have lost 23 of their last 29 games. In the process, their streak of hitting at least one home run ended at 14 games.

The loss can’t be blamed entirely on Flexen. Catcher Korey Lee’s throwing error on a steal attempt set up an RBI single by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the third, and a pickoff attempt at second base by Flexen hit Corbin Carroll, whose back shielded shortstop Paul DeJong, and skipped into center field. Carroll scored on a soft grounder by Joc Pederson.

Manager Pedro Grifol wanted to watch a video of the play and talk to all parties before assessing details of the miscue.

The Sox have scored only 16 runs in their last six games. Even the return of Tommy Pham from an ankle injury did little to spark the offense. Pham, batting leadoff, started the game with a single but was erased on a double play.

The top four hitters in the Sox’ order were a combined 1-for-16. The offense didn’t advance a runner past first after Lenyn Sosa hit a double with one out in the fifth.

The Sox didn’t arrive at their Phoenix-area hotel until 2:30 a.m., but Diamondbacks starter Ryne Nelson (4-5) kept them awake by throwing 71 of 95 pitches for strikes and limiting damage when needed.

Andrew Benintendi hit a double with one out in the fourth but was left stranded when DeJong grounded to third and Nicky Lopez was fooled on an 83 mph changeup for a called third strike.

“There’s going to be games like this,” Grifol said. “We’re set up now to have a bullpen rested to see if we can win the next two days in Arizona.”





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