ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Left-hander Derek Holland started this defeat-filled trip with his worst start of the season, and he followed it up with his second-worst in the White Sox’ 7-5 loss Thursday to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

After getting swept by the Tigers in Detroit, the Sox lost two of three to the Rays, dropping them to 1-5 on the trip with the Indians coming up this weekend in Cleveland. The Sox have lost seven of eight overall, and at 25-33, they own the worst record in the American League.

Starting pitching has been a big factor in the recent slump. In six games, Sox starters have covered only 27„ innings, allowing 25 runs, 40 hits and 14 walks. Holland (4-6), who took a 2.37 ERA into his start last Friday in Detroit (eight runs in 2„ innings), got rocked again, allowing six runs, nine hits and three walks in 4‰ innings. No.  8 hitter Derek Norris smacked two home runs, and No. 9 hitter Peter Bourjos hit one, hiking Holland’s ERA to 3.99.

“No excuse,’’ Holland said. “I have to pitch better than that. Too many walks is the most frustrating thing, and if you make a mistake, these guys will capitalize. A very frustrating day for me. I’m not happy with that.’’

Holland left trailing 6-0, but Avisail Garcia’s 446-foot homer to left-center field, his second tape-measure blast of the series, and Todd Frazier’s second long ball of the series — this one off the foul pole against Ryne Stanek — cut the Rays’ lead to 6-5. Garcia continues on his All-Star-caliber season, raising his average to .330 with two hits. He collected his 42nd RBI with his three-run homer off Jake Odorizzi (4-3).

“He continues to flourish,’’ said manager Rick Renteria, who exhorted his team with a spirited pep talk after the Sox fell behind. “It’s really nice to see him maintaining the consistency since spring training.’’

Frazier, like Garcia, has 10 homers to go with 28 RBI.

“Todd’s starting to feel it a little bit,’’ Renteria said.

Colby Rasmus homered against Gregory Infante in the eighth for the Rays (31-31).

Goldberg optioned to Class AAA

Right-hander Brad Goldberg, who was roughed up by the Tigers in his major-league debut Saturday, was optioned to Class AAA after the game. A corresponding call-up move will be made Friday. Jake Petricka (lat strain), who made his third rehab outing Wednesday with Charlotte, is a possibility.

Shields sharp in 2nd rehab start

James Shields’ five-inning line was clean and encouraging in his second rehab start for Charlotte at Gwinnett. The 35-year-old righty allowed four hits and one run. He walked none and struck out five.

In his start Saturday at Buffalo, Shields (lat strain) gave up one earned run in four innings, striking out three and allowing no walks. Before leaving to join the Knights, Shields said he thought two starts would be enough, so it’s possible he joins the team at home next week.

Kopech is All-Star starter

Right-hander Michael Kopech has been selected to start for the North Division at the Southern League All-Star Game on June 20 in Pensacola, Florida.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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