By Teddy Greenstein
Tribune staff reporter
June 4, 2003
The left-handed White Sox reliever moon-walked to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," drawing high-fives from teammates D'Angelo Jimenez and Miguel Olivo.
Third-base coach Bruce Kimm even got into it, dancing to the music.
So much for the doom and gloom after a three-game losing streak and 14-25 stretch.
"Our staff is doing a good job of keeping them upbeat, and that's important," Sox manager Jerry Manuel said before Tuesday night's game. "If any team is to enjoy the sweetness of victory, they have to know what it is to be where we are.
"We're at the bottom of the barrel. But once things get well for us, we'll appreciate it and have a little more respect for it."
A nice sentiment, to be sure, but the Sox took another step backward in their 2-1 loss to Arizona. They failed to record an extra-base hit and scored their lone run on a broken-bat single by Frank Thomas.
"It's been pretty much the same story all year," Manuel said. "We're just not scoring any runs."
Manuel has shuffled the lineup numerous times, shifted Thomas to first, where he historically has put up bigger offensive numbers, and moved Magglio Ordonez to center field to get an extra bat in the lineup.
What else can he do?
"I'm never out of tricks," he said. "I better start pulling them out, I'll tell you that."
Esteban Loaiza, who entered 8-2 with an American League-low 1.96 earned-run average, was almost good enough Tuesday to win with only one run of support.
But after Loaiza gave up a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga to start the eighth, Manuel called on Marte.
Marte induced a foul pop from Quinton McCracken for the first out. Then Tony Womack reached on a bunt.
Marte got the double-play grounder he needed from Steve Finley, but second baseman Jimenez flubbed the toss to shortstop Jose Valentin, leaving him with no chance to complete the play as Baerga scored.
The Diamondbacks won it in the ninth when Chad Moeller ripped a one-out double off Tom Gordon to score Shea Hillenbrand, who had reached on a single off the glove of a leaping Valentin.
The Sox lost their fourth straight to fall to a season-worst seven games under .500.
"It's disappointing," Gordon said, "very disappointing. Everyone here is working hard. Hopefully we still have time [to come back]."
The Sox squandered two key chances to score Tuesday. With one out and a runner at third in the second, Joe Borchard struck out and Miguel Olivo grounded into a double play. With two runners on in the sixth, Tony Graffanino grounded out and Borchard struck out.
"This is the first time I've ever had an offense that didn't swing the bats at all," Manuel said.
Loaiza entered the game with just 57 strikeouts in 11 starts, but he showed the ability Tuesday to get the punchout when needed. After Womack led off the first with a bunt single, Loaiza struck out the side, getting Finley, Danny Bautista and Luis Gonzalez. But without any support, Loaiza's best wasn't good enough.
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