Shortstop Tim Anderson and manager Tony La Russa weren’t around for the end of a frustrating final night for the Chicago White Sox.
Both were ejected in the seventh inning on Friday in a 7-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics in front of 28,503 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Plate umpire Nick Mahrley called a strike on the first pitch of Anderson’s seventh-inning at-bat. Anderson argued and was ejected. La Russa took up the argument and was also expelled.
“I was disappointed in the referee,” La Russa said. “I don’t think Tim cussed him out or anything. If you don’t let a player get excited (and) have a bunch of bots playing, that’s not fun. That at bat, I thought (the pitch was) questionable. He got upset.
“I think you should allow the players to wake up, as long as they don’t cross the line. And that escalated before Tim did anything. He is excited. That’s the way he plays. That’s the way you’re supposed to play. I remember that the referees are also human beings and they can get angry. But part of his training is that you have to let the players get emotional as long as they don’t become disrespectful or vulgar.”
The Sox trailed 5-3 at the time and were unable to complete the rally, stumbling against the team with the worst record in the American League. The Sox fell back under .500 at 49-50.
Sox second baseman Josh Harrison described the game as “strange”.
“I definitely want to come back from a bad day (Thursday) and playing at home you want to win these games,” he said. “We fight, we fight. Don’t give up until the last pitch. That’s all we can as far as. We have to go back (Saturday) and clean up a bit. Sometimes that happens after a day off.
“The schedule has been a bit strange last week (with days off Monday and Thursday). There’s no excuse, we have to show up and do what we’re supposed to do.”
The Sox allowed four home runs, two to Seth Brown.
Sox starter Lance Lynn gave up a three-run homer to Stephen Piscotty in the second and solo homers to Brown and Elvis Andrus in the sixth. Brown hit another solo home run in the eighth off reliever Davis Martin as the A’s took Game 1 of the three-game series.
“I just have to keep the ball in the ballpark and stop making mistakes,” said Lynn, who allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in 5⅔ innings. “It’s one of those where you bring out some positives, but when it’s all said and done, I have to keep the ball in the ballpark.”
The Sox led 1-0 after José Abreu knocked out AJ Pollock with a two-out single to right field in the first inning. They would not get another hit against A’s starter James Kaprielian until the fifth. He allowed one run on four hits with four strikeouts and one walk in six innings.
“I’m familiar with these guys and he’s a striker around the plate,” Harrison said. “He did a good job of getting some ball strikes off the plate a little bit. We had some hard hit balls. I can remember (before) my first at-bat (in the second inning), Eloy (Jiménez) and Gavin (Sheets) both hit balls really hard that got caught.
“That’s the name of baseball. Putting a few tickets together, we didn’t do enough.”
Meanwhile, Piscotty’s three-run homer, in an inning that began with first baseman Abreu dropping third baseman Yoán Moncada’s throw for an error, gave the A’s a 3-1 lead. Solo homers by Brown and Andrus made it 5-1. Lynn came out after Andrus’ home run.
“I have to make better pitches when I need to,” Lynn said. “And make sure he doesn’t take a big hit on me. The two alone are going to happen. Too many wrong pitches in the last inning.
“But the three-run homer, you can’t give up the big one, but I did it before and it put us in a hole.”
Harrison’s two-run homer in the seventh cut the deficit to 5-3. That’s as close as the Sox would get.
The two ejections occurred later in the driveway.
Asked about the possibility of contact between Anderson and Mahrley, La Russa said: “I didn’t see that. I know I think I saw the referee move a little bit forward, which they are taught not to do. I didn’t see any contact.
“Referees are not robots either. They can get excited and they can get angry. But they are supposed to be cool headed. Because if you try to take the thrill out of the game, it’s not fun.”