CHICAGO — The Tampa Bay Rays waited a long time to lose a game Wednesday night. At least they learned more about their young relievers in the process.
Todd Frazier hit his 40th home run, Miguel Gonzalez waited out a lengthy rain delay to throw 8 1/3 dominant innings and the Chicago White Sox edged the last-place Rays 1-0. The defeat was their sixth in a row and ninth in the last 10.
Starter Blake Snell was forced to depart after a one-hour 16-minute delay before relievers Ryan Garton, Eddie Gamboa and Danny Farquhar combined for 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-hit relief.
“Those guys have done a really nice job,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Seems like every time they’ve come in, they’ve kept the score right there and given us every opportunity to win a ballgame.”
Frazier became the seventh White Sox player to reach the homer milestone when he connected off knuckleballer Gamboa (0-2) with two out in the seventh. Frazier is hitting .391 (18 for 46) during a 12-game hitting streak.
Gonzalez (5-7) returned after a 1 hour, 16-minute delay in the third inning and retired 18 of 19 before being lifted after Logan Forsythe’s one-out single to left in the ninth. David Robertson got the final two outs for his 37th save in 44 tries.
The game was also delayed by 21 minutes before the start. It was 57 degrees at first pitch and rain came and went amid blustery conditions as a tiny crowd watched Chicago win its fifth straight. The game itself lasted only 2 hours, 10 minutes.
“Yeah, I’m not sure what Gonzalez did over there in that other clubhouse … but he definitely didn’t get out of rhythm,” Cash said. “I mean, he started out good against us and finished just as good if not better.”
Snell allowed one hit while getting five outs, but the right-hander was replaced by Garton after the second delay.
“I felt really good tonight,” said Snell, who wore a heat pack on his arm in hopes that he would return to the mound. “I wish that it didn’t rain so I could have seen what would have happened.”
Snell finished the season with a 6-8 record and 3.54 earned run average.
“It was a good learning year,” Snell said.
Gamboa entered in the fifth and flustered the White Sox into off-balance swings and soft outs until Frazier pulled a 74 mph knuckler into the left-field seats for his 98th RBI.
“It’s a great feat to have,” Frazier said. “I had a bunch of people text me it’s coming, today is the day. It wasn’t that much pressure.”
The rainy night capped an odd day for the White Sox. USA Today reported the front office has decided to retain embattled Robin Ventura, but the manager had yet to decide whether he wanted to return.
Ventura deflected pregame questions about his future, saying any decisions would be made after the season ends Sunday.
WHIFF OF SUCCESS
The Rays stuck out only five times, well below their season average. They entered the game with the most strikeouts (7.3 per game) in the AL and third most in the majors.
“There’s so much of a reward it seems right now for guys not shortening up (swings) to give up that chance to hit a ball in the gap or out of the ballpark, so yeah,” Cash said. “So yeah, it’s easier said than done for sure.”
Rays RHP Chase Whitley will make his first start in place of LHP Drew Smyly in Sunday’s season finale at Texas. Whitley, who has a 1.74 ERA out of the bullpen since returning from Tommy John surgery last month, is scheduled to throw 75-80 pitches. “He’s deserving,” Cash said of the assignment.
Rays: OF Kevin Kiermaier (bruised left hand) was in the lineup after a two-game absence.
White Sox: Left-hitting RF Adam Eaton didn’t start, but played in the field in the ninth a night after returning following a three-game absence due to crashing into the outfield wall in Cleveland. “I felt a little sore, but I was fresh,” Eaton said. … 2B Tyler Saladino (back) missed his sixth straight game.
Rays RHP Chris Archer (8-19, 4.02 ERA) tries to avoid a 20th loss Thursday night in his final start of the season as the teams conclude the four-game series. LHP Jose Quintana (12-11, 3.26) starts for Chicago.