La Russa seethes after Orioles 'easily' beat lifeless White Sox

Tony La Russa has remained fairly upbeat through a trying first three months of the season for the White Sox.

The Hall of Famer manager switched gears a bit Friday night after the Sox were held to 1 hit in a bullpen game for Baltimore.

And La Russa understood why the White Sox were booed off the field following a 4-1 loss to the Orioles at Guaranteed Rate Field.

"We're better than that," he said. "In this league, you either do or you don't and when you don't, whether you're players or the manager, you just take the heat. Fans didn't come out to watch us get beat that easily.

"I take the heat for not getting us ready to play. I don't know what else to say."

Jake Burger had the lone hit, an RBI double in the second inning off starter Austin Voth, normally a reliever who entered the game with an 8.39 ERA.

That was it for the Sox's offense.

"It was just one of those game when you're not really sure what the answer is," Burger said. "There was something missing, obviously. We've had our fair share of injuries, not to make excuses. The talent's in this room. Something's missing but we'll figure it out."

The White Sox's only outburst of energy came in the second inning, after starting pitcher Michael Kopech hit No. 8 hitter Jorge Mateo with a 99-mph fastball on a 1-2 pitch.

Both benches emptied and words were exchanged, with Baltimore infielder Rougned Odor and Sox shortstop Tim Anderson doing most of the talking.

No punches were thrown and the game resumed with only warnings given to each team.

"They took offense to it, I guess," Kopech said. "On a 1-2 pitch, I'm trying to rear it back and do a little bit more. The ball got away from me. Definitely not trying to hit a guy with two strikes and two outs, especially a guy that's not doing too much at the plate."

Kopech struggled with his command all night, but he tried keeping the White Sox in the game while pitching 6 innings and giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks.

After being shut out by the Orioles 4-0 Thursday in the first game of the series and scratching out just 1 run Friday, the White Sox have an obvious need for an offensive spark.

Lenyn Sosa made the jump from Class AA Birmingham to the Sox on Thursday, replacing injured infielder Danny Mendick (season-ending knee surgery).

The prospect came off the bench in his first game, striking out and walking in his first two major-league plate appearances.

Sosa, who hit .331/.384/.549 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI in 62 games with Birmingham, sat out Friday night's loss.

He could be in the starting lineup Saturday, but La Russa didn't make it sound like the 22-year-old Sosa is going to be the answer at second base - at least not this season.

Either that, or he's trying to minimize the pressure.

"Well, right now, he's up here temporarily, right?" La Russa said. "To fill in. He can go nuts and force himself into the lineup. I don't know how many opportunities he's going to get. So I don't want to discourage Sosa, but he may get in tomorrow or Sunday. We'll see."

Fans watch during the first inning between the Baltimore Orioles and the White Sox on Friday. Associated Press
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