CHICAGO -- Scott Carroll admittedly was more excited for his inaugural Crosstown Cup contest against the Cubs on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field than he was for his Major League debut on April 27 after 138 Minor League games over eight seasons.
That excitement unfortunately didn't translate into success during the Cubs' 12-5 shellacking before 26,332 on one of the warmest nights of the year, which also featured a 20-to-26 mph wind blowing from right to left. Carroll (1-1) yielded six runs on 11 hits over four-plus innings, whereas he gave up just one earned run over his first 13 1/3 innings.
Thursday's issue for Carroll centered on a lack of location. It also had a great deal to do with the Cubs (12-21), who knocked out 15 hits, including home runs from Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Mike Olt.
"They swung it; it just wasn't our night," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the setback. "We just weren't pitching that great. You know, just a lot of guys on. It just seemed like every inning they had a lot of guys on and they were knocking them in."
"It was just a situation where I didn't have my best stuff," Carroll said. "I left a few pitches out when I obviously didn't have the ability to do so. I was kind of just fighting it the whole time, but you know what, I just have to tip my hat off to them. They had some good at-bats against me."
Ventura's crew actually grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second against Jake Arrieta, but that advantage was erased by a four-run Cubs third. Rizzo went deep after a Ryan Kalish triple and a Luis Valbuena single in that frame.
Those three hits came on back-to-back-to-back pitches from Carroll.
"We missed a couple spots there," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who singled and drove in two. "They became aggressive early in the count, which is fine, but we've just got to do a better job locating those pitches early on.
"For whatever reason, the sinker wasn't sinking as much as usual. It was kind of just running a little bit more, so it stayed up in the zone a little bit more than we liked."
Even with the numerous scoring opportunities against Carroll, the White Sox (18-18) only trailed by a 6-4 margin in the eighth. The Cubs put the game out of reach with a five spot against the previously unhittable White Sox bullpen, ending the relievers' scoreless streak at 23 1/3 consecutive innings.
Maikel Cleto absorbed the five-run damage, with much of it coming on Olt's first career grand slam. Cleto also walked three over two innings and wasn't helped by Moises Sierra's attempt in right on Rizzo's long fly ball that was ruled a double but appeared catchable.
"I came up with the bases loaded [in the third] and I didn't come through and I was upset with myself because with less than two outs, I've got to at least get someone in, move someone over," Olt said. "I've got to do my job. To get another chance late in the game and come through like that definitely helped."
Jose Abreu's health was of greater concern to the White Sox than Olt's grand slam or their inability to sweep four games from their North Side rivals. Abreu tweaked the same left ankle that bothered him during Spring Training and appeared to be running at less than full speed for much of Thursday's game.
Marcus Semien pinch-hit for Abreu in the ninth, although Ventura didn't seem too alarmed about his rookie first baseman's overall condition.
"He just seemed like he was limping a little bit tonight, that's why in the end there I took him out," Ventura said. "He says he's fine. He's limping around a little bit, but he'll be fine."
When asked if he would consider moving Abreu to designated hitter until the soreness subsided, Ventura said it was possible.
"But he had this before," said Ventura of Abreu, who was receiving treatment postgame. "He says it's not like it was in Spring Training, so I don't expect him to be out."
Six Cubs pitchers, including winning hurler Brian Schlitter (2-0), gave up 13 hits to the White Sox. There were no extra-base hits among the 13, with Alexei Ramirez leading the way with his four-hit effort and his 15th multi-hit game of the season.
"The White Sox had a lot of hits as well and we limited their damage -- we did more damage than they did today," Rizzo said.
Arizona stands as next up on the Interleague docket for the White Sox, who saw their season-high four-game winning streak come to an end. They will quickly forget about tying a season high for runs allowed and their fifth loss in the last eight games to the Cubs.
"Obviously, no one's too happy with the game today, so kind of just wash that one and get ready again for tomorrow and Arizona," Flowers said. "Before tonight we played good ball. Today, we just kind of got our butts kicked."
"You know, it's a loss," Ventura said. "We would like to win it, but it wasn't our night. It was their night. We're moving on to tomorrow."