ARLINGTON -- The cruel world of baseball hit the White Sox right in the gut in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Rangers. In the biggest moments of the final innings, the White Sox found the two hitters in prolonged slumps up at the plate at the most inopportune of times.
First, it was struggling outfielder Alex Rios grounding into an inning-ending double play with the tying run at second base in the top of the seventh. Then it was Adam Dunn continuing his hitless streak against left-handers, striking out as a pinch-hitter with the tying run at third and one out in the eighth.
Even with that, the White Sox almost got to Rangers closer Neftali Feliz after Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko drew one-out walks in the top of the ninth. But Rios hit into a 4-9-6 fielder's choice with the tying run at second, and A.J. Pierzynski skied out to center field to end the game.
Those missed opportunities wasted a supreme effort by starter Gavin Floyd, who allowed three hits in seven-plus innings against the Rangers' powerful offense. The three hits by the Rangers matched their fewest in a victory at Rangers Ballpark dating back to when the stadium opened in 1994.
Meanwhile, the White Sox had six singles and stranded five men on base as they bounced into three double plays.
"We had a few opportunities and those guys didn't come up with the big hit," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We pitched very well. Gavin and the rest of the guys pitched well. We had a few chances and didn't get the big hit today and that cost us the game."
The White Sox missed out on a chance to win their fourth straight road series for the first time since 2006. They're 12-6 in their last 18 games and 7-4 in their last 11 road games.
Still, it's a particularly frustrating time for Rios, who has batted .273 in his last 21 games. But his road woes won't go away. He hasn't homered and has only four RBIs in 103 at-bats away from U.S. Cellular Field.
"It's been tough," Rios said. "It's frustrating when you can't help the team win. I hope things turn around. I don't know. That's it."
The White Sox were uneven in the three games on offense, and still were in every game and almost won the series. They were shut out for the sixth time on Monday in a 4-0 loss, but seemed to turn things around Tuesday night with an 8-6 victory that featured three home runs by Quentin.
Quentin was limited to a single and a walk in four plate appearances on Wednesday, and White Sox hitters as a group managed six singles off Rangers starter C.J. Wilson and three relievers.
"We've been doing a good job lately," Rios said. "Everybody's been hitting the ball good and we've been getting some runs. Myself, it's been an ongoing slump from the beginning of the season. I just want to turn things around and start doing well."Floyd mostly dominated Rangers hitters. But an error by second baseman Gordon Beckham to start the bottom of the third inning led to Floyd's one bad inning. Yorvit Torrealba followed with a double over the head of Rios in center field, and Mitch Moreland's sacrifice fly to center field scored David Murphy. Ian Kinsler then singled to left field to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
Floyd allowed only one more hit the rest of the way.
"I thought Floyd threw the ball well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We got two runs off him, but he threw the ball as well as C.J. did today. I saw good pitching today."
The White Sox finally got to Wilson in the top of the seventh. Alexei Ramirez, Quentin and Konerko had consecutive singles, the last scoring Ramirez.
The Rangers turned to reliever Mark Lowe with runners at first and second, and Rios hit the second pitch he saw into the ground to second base, and Texas turned an easy double play.
The White Sox again threatened in the top of the eighth. Pierzynski, pinch-hitting, walked and was moved to second on Brett Lillibridge's sacrifice bunt. Beckham followed with a single to right to put runners at first and third.
Guillen decided to pinch-hit the left-handed-hitting Dunn, while the Rangers countered with lefty reliever Darren Oliver. Dunn worked the count full, but struck out on a fastball to make him 0-for-32 against left-handed pitchers this season.
Guillen didn't second guess his decision to force the lefty-lefty matchup, even considering Dunn's woeful numbers this season.
"When Adam is at the plate, I don't care who is on the mound," Guillen said.
The White Sox were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the last three innings.
"We're all fighting out there," Floyd said. "It was a day where their pitcher pitched real well. We had a couple of innings where we were trying to grind it out and it just didn't happen today."
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.