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The White Sox defense, once a staple of its success, suddenly has turned sour.
Five errors have led to two consecutive losses and added to the burden of a weary bullpen.
Two of those miscues Wednesday transformed a potential satisfying victory into a disheartening 6-5, 13-inning loss to Kansas City that could have lingering effects.
First baseman Ross Gload's error preceded Mike Sweeney's three-run, game-tying home run in the eighth inning that deprived Jon Garland of his 16th victory.
The miscue also prolonged the Sox's agony that culminated with Emil Brown's bases-loaded single with one out in the 13th off Luis Vizcaino.
"We lost the game because of it," Gload said of his error on Terrence Long's potential double-play grounder.
"The ball went though my legs. If he hits it at me right now, I probably catch it. I play once every two weeks and lost us the game."
Gload, who was promoted last week from Triple-A Charlotte to take the place of the injured Frank Thomas, made his fourth start at first in place of Paul Konerko.
"I don't know if there are a lot of guys in the clubhouse happy with me right now," Gload said. "I cost Garland his 16th win. A couple of guys missed their flights going home for the off day, so you can write whatever you want."
Gload wasn't the only culprit. Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi mishandled a grounder in the sixth before the first of Sweeney's two homers cut the Sox lead to 5-2.
Manager Ozzie Guillen took notice of his team's lapses after entering play Wednesday ranked tied for third with the Los Angeles Angels in the American League in fielding.
"We made a couple of mistakes, and all of sudden, the wrong guy (Sweeney) came to the plate and it hurt," Guillen said. "We played poor defense all week."
The errors extended the game and caused Guillen to use six relievers, including Vizcaino for the fourth consecutive outing.
"We have a day off [Thursday]," Guillen said. "Maybe I'll talk to [general manager] Kenny Williams about having another arm in the bullpen. We hope we don't overuse them. We'll see how we handle it next the couple of days."
San Francisco left-hander Scott Eyre, whom the Sox have scouted, has pitched in four consecutive games.
Guillen and Garland each stood by the decision to employ left-hander Neal Cotts after David DeJesus opened the eighth with single off Garland. Long hit the hard grounder that Gload mishandled and Guillen summoned Cliff Politte, who gave up the game-tying homer to Sweeney.
"The way this bullpen has pitched, I'll turn it over to them any time," said Garland, who was pulled with the 5-2 lead after only 88 pitches.
The Sox battled from the start. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons ejected designated hitter Carl Everett for the first time this season after a called third strike in the second.
Everett said he didn't say anything directly to Timmons but made a casual gesture with his hand while walking back to the dugout. After realizing he had been ejected, Everett walked out of the dugout but was intercepted by first base umpire Chuck Meriwether and third base coach Joey Cora.
The Sox also filed a protest in the top of the 13th because Royals reliever Shawn Camp wasn't listed on their lineup card.
Guillen didn't expect to win the protest because he was informed Camp merely has to be on the Royals' 25-man roster.
"It's no big deal," Guillen said.