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Article updated: 4/28/2013 7:30 PM

Sox must stop dropping the ball

By Scot Gregor

Even before key players like Jeff Keppinger, Dayan Viciedo, Gordon Beckham and Gavin Floyd started making beelines from the playing field to the trainer's room, the White Sox didn't have much room for mistakes.

Now that the roster has shifted into makeshift mode, the Sox really have to be careful.

They were careless against Tampa Bay on Sunday, and it cost the White Sox an 8-3 loss at U.S. Cellular Field.

"You see the turn of events in a tight game," manager Robin Ventura said.

It was a 3-3 in the eighth inning when the game completely got away from the Sox.

Reliever Nate Jones gave up 2 singles and 2 walks, with a wild pitch thrown in.

Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain did a good job of minimizing the damage after taking over for Jones, but right fielder Alex Rios dropped a Ryan Roberts flyball with the bases loaded and two outs, allowing 2 unearned runs to score.

"It's just one of those things that's going to happen and you realize that occasionally," Ventura said. "But if we're going to get on an extended run of playing well, you have to make those plays."

Floyd went on the disabled list before the Rays won their second straight over the Sox to split the four-game series.

Keppinger (back spasms) doesn't appear headed to the DL, but he missed his third straight game and the rash of injuries is undoubtedly taking a toll.

Even Ventura, who never makes excuses, realizes his team is not playing anywhere near full power.

"You have a few of the starters out, so it becomes a different look," Ventura said. "But again, I can't look at it like that. We're looking at what you have here and what's available and you go from there. You try to win games right now, not waiting and looking in the future.

"Guys are playing hard and this is one of those that is probably a work in progress of trying to figure that out and who's playing and who's doing what. But again, you try to make due and make sure everybody is giving a constant effort. That's all you can ask."

Jones and Rios are regulars on the 25-man roster, and they were the biggest disappointments Sunday.

Paul Konerko, who put the White Sox in front 3-1 in the third inning with a 2-run homer off Tampa Bay starter David Price, said all of the injuries have not been a major factor.

"I don't sense anybody looking around saying we can't win with what we have," Konerko said. "I think the only time you think about those (injured) guys is when you see them. I think every team is going to have that little span during the season where it seems like every day somebody's going down.

"Hopefully this is ours right now and we start getting guys back and we're kind of over that and it's done with and some other team's going to have to deal with that in August or September maybe.

"That's what you hang your hat on I guess, but the guys that have been filling in have been doing a great job. A lot of guys filling in for the guys who are hurt have gotten big hits and done some nice things. We feel like we're fine with what we have. We just have to keep grinding."

As usual, Sox starter Dylan Axelrod was matched up against a quality mound opponent and held his own.

Axelrod was in great shape until Matt Joyce tied the game at 3-3 with a 2-run homer in the sixth inning.

"It's a little bit frustrating," Axelrod said. "We were in a good position to win the game. It was a tough pitch; (Joyce) got to it and kept it fair. You have to give him credit for that."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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