- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - There isn’t a lot of mystery to what’s wrong with the Chicago White Sox at the moment.

They’re not scoring any runs. Then again, nobody else is against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

One night after managing all of two hits against Francisco Liriano, the White Sox produced just four in a 3-0 loss to Charlie Morton on Tuesday that extended their losing streak to five straight.

“We throw up a couple doughnuts in two games you’re not going to win,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Guys have got to fight their way out of it. You’ve got to keep grinding and somehow find that groove.”

It was nowhere to be found again as Chicago struggled to give Jose Quintana any run support. Quintana (3-7) gave up three runs in six innings, though one would have been too many as the White Sox were blanked for the third time in Quintana’s 13 starts.



“Sometimes you can feel frustration because you prepare every time,” Quintana said. “That’s baseball. Try to do your best every day, day by day.”

Chicago has been living the same day over and over again recently. The White Sox are a season-worst seven games under .500 (28-35) and are just 10-18 since May 18.

“You have to be able to play good baseball on all sides of the ball to win,” Ventura said. “When you don’t and when you go through stretches where you don’t play well offensively, anything that happens that’s not on the offense, it always looks worse.”

Morton (5-0) lowered his ERA to 1.62 after striking out three and walking one and not allowing a batter to reach third base. Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his 21st save.

The Pirates have thrown three straight shutouts and five overall during their six-game winning streak, a stretch in which their starters have allowed all of one earned run.

“With the arms they’ve shown the last couple days they’re tough, they’re definitely tough,” Ventura said.

Francisco Cervelli and Sean Rodriguez hit solo home runs for the Pirates. Starling Marte, who had two hits, is batting .600 (15 for 25) over his last five games.

Morton is enjoying the best stretch of his uneven career following a lengthy layoff from hip surgery and some extra time in the minors refining his mechanics. While his new delivery isn’t second nature yet, it’s getting closer.

Chicago’s best chance came in the first inning, when Adam Eaton led off with a walk and stole second. Eaton slid past third base on a fielder’s choice and was tagged out by Jung Ho Kang. Three batters later Morton was out of the inning and cruising. He retired 11 straight at one point, giving Pittsburgh’s offense enough time to solve Quintana.

The Pirates moved in front in the third when Andrew McCutchen drove home Marte with a sharp single to left. Rodriguez added a homer deep into the bleachers in left field with one out in the fourth and Cervelli continued his torrid hitting with a rare show of power, taking a Quintana offering 412 feet for his second home run of the season.

“I don’t take too many homers, that’s good for me,” Quintana said. “But sometimes you miss a pitch, you get a homer.”

ROUGH TRIP

The White Sox are 12-22 on the road after completing an 0-5 swing through Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. Performing well outside of Chicago has been an issue since 2013. The White Sox have the second-worst road record in the majors over that span.

“It was a bad road trip,” Ventura said. “We had some tough losses in Tampa and didn’t swing it here. You hope something changes offensively, guys feel better when you go home.”

OUCH

Home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman got up close and personal with a curveball from Morton in the first inning. Alexei Ramirez was attempting to bunt when the bender got a little too far inside. Ramirez ducked out of the way and Cervelli moved his glove. The ball ended up striking Dreckman on the right arm. The game was delayed for a few moments while trainers checked on Dreckman.

UP NEXT

The series shifts to Chicago for two games at U.S. Cellular Field. Jeff Locke (3-3, 4.90) starts for the Pirates. Locke pitched six scoreless innings while earning a no-decision against Philadelphia in his last start. The 27-year-old is 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA in seven interleague starts. John Danks (3-6, 5.16 ERA) will try to end a two-game losing streak. The left-hander is 10-7 with 3.01 ERA against the National League in his nine-year career.

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