U.S. Cellular Field had a Tucson Electric Park-feel Tuesday night. The ball was flying out just like it did the last time the White Sox faced Arizona starter Javier Vazquez.
Only this time the Diamondbacks did most of the pounding against Orlando Hernandez in what has become a disturbing trend recently for Sox starters.
Hernandez was tagged for six runs and surrendered two home runs en route to a 10-4 loss before 24,831 fans.
The Sox (42-22) have lost three of their last four games while seeing their lead in the American League Central trimmed to four games and their starting pitching absorbing much of the pounding after a stellar 10 weeks.
In the last three games, Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras and Hernandez have been tagged for 19 runs on 27 hits in 16 2/3 innings.
"We're getting spoiled by the pitching staff all year," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "You come in here and you feel like we've lost 20 in a row, but it's only two."
The bullpen helped rescue Garcia on Sunday, and Contreras saved a tired bullpen by lasting six innings Monday.
But Hernandez has allowed four earned runs or more in four consecutive starts and made no excuses for his rut, scoffing at a question as to whether he felt mentally sharp.
Although Hernandez was victimized when center fielder Aaron Rowand misjudged Royce Clayton's drive that sailed over his head for two runs in the fourth, the Diamondbacks thoroughly roughed up the Sox starter.
Hernandez had allowed only two home runs in his first 61 innings, but Troy Glaus hit a convincing 422-foot homer over the left-field fence in the fourth that fueled a three-run rally that Rowand's gaffe capped.
The Diamondbacks solved Hernandez with relative ease the second and third time through the batting order. Glaus, who hit a home run in Monday's 8-1 rout, hit an RBI single in the fifth that gave the Diamondbacks a 4-3 lead.
"Their lineup has a lot of all-stars hitting in a row," said Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who hit a single in the second that extended his hitting streak to 11 games and hit his 16th homer in the fourth. "If they're clicking, they're tough."
Shawn Green hit his second homer in as many nights, and Hernandez finally was pulled after 4 2/3 innings after allowing a single to Jose Cruz Jr., who entered Tuesday's game batting .227.
The Sox have surrendered six homers in their two games against the Diamondbacks, and even left-hander Damaso Marte was no mystery in his first appearance since suffering soreness in his left biceps.
A fielding error by shortstop Juan Uribe, his first miscue since May 23, preceded two hits and a walk against Marte. The biggest blow was a two-run double by left-handed hitter Luis Gonzalez, who pulled Marte's pitch with ease.
And for the second time in as many nights, the Sox failed to dip deep into the Diamondbacks' bullpen that has a 6.25 ERA.
Vazquez (7-4) was clearly more effective against the Sox than he was on March 30 at Tucson Electric, when he allowed nine runs on nine hits (including three home runs) and five walks in five innings.
Vazquez, a teammate of Hernandez's with the New York Yankees last season, struck out 10, his season high, and walked only one in eight innings. He has allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his past 11 starts.
firstname.lastname@example.orgCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times