Loud chants of “Fire Tony!” broke out at Guaranteed Rate Field as manager Tony La Russa and the Chicago White Sox blew a five point lead and lost to the Texas Rangers 11-9 in 10 innings on Saturday.
La Russa has been under heightened scrutiny this week since ordering an unconventional intentional walk in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Related: La Russa’s Deliberate Walk Stuns Dodgers, Baseball World
The White Sox won the AL Central last season, but are now just 27-30 below their 77-year-old Hall of Fame manager.
He didn’t seem startled, though.
‘Fire Tony’ La Russa chants erupt as White Sox blow the lead
“Fire Tony” La Russa chants were heard from the stands after the Chicago White Sox relinquished the lead against the Texas Rangers.
“I hear it with one ear and I see it with one eye,” said La Russa. “I just know I appreciate that they want us to win. And if we don’t win, they’re unhappy.”
Fans took to the chants a few more times as the crowd of 30,221 quickly thinned in the 10th.
“Nothing happens to this team that I am ultimately not responsible for,” said La Russa. “Never evaded responsibility and I will not begin now.”
Chicago has lost three out of four. Texas has won for just the fourth time in its last 11 games.
Jake Burger hit a three-run homer off AL ERA leader Martín Pérez that helped the White Sox take a 5-0 lead in the fifth.
But the Rangers backed out when Adolis García hit a three-run homerun off Lucas Giolito in the fifth, then tied the score at 7 on Jonah Heim’s sacrifice fly in the seventh.
“You have to be in the right place at the right time and at the right time,” García said through a translator.
Nathaniel Lowe gave Texas the lead with his second double of the game, a drive that started with a four-run outburst in the 10th. A passed ball by Reese McGuire scored another run and Marcus Semien hit a two-run single.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward praised his team’s attacking balance and an effective display of the bullpen to make up the deficit.
“The bullpen, innings six through nine, 11 out of 12 outs on punchouts, just wipe them out,” Woodward said. “That gave our offense the confidence to know that coming in (our pitchers) are hitting in the middle of their lineup three times in a row.”
Texas has now racked up a trio of five-run comeback wins this season.
The White Sox tagged Pérez for 12 hits and six earned runs in five innings. He started the day with a 1.56 ERA.
“Sometimes I don’t have my stuff and I just have to fight,” said Pérez. “They had my back today and that feels pretty great.”
The RBI single by Danny Mendick and the sacrifice fly by Andrew Vaughn brought Chicago within two runs in the bottom half, but Joe Barlow eliminated Luis Robert and José Abreu to end it.
Texas reliever Matt Moore (3-0) fanned out five in two scoreless innings.
“It’s like, how much fight do you have in you, right?” said Moor. “It’s easy to fold. That’s the easy thing to do, just go home and get your beating. But these guys kept fighting.”
Matt Foster (1-1) took the loss.
But most of the chatter of the match was about La Russa and the chants of White Sox fans. Here’s a sample:
Reporting by the Associated Press.
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