The White Sox’ grip on a postseason berth is secure. But with each passing day as the 60-game season winds down, they can’t get a handle on winning heading into the playoffs.
The Cubs routed them 10-0 on Friday in the opener of a three-game, regular-season-ending series at Guaranteed Rate Field, extending their losing streak to six.
Some good news: The Twins also lost, so the Sox remained only a game behind them in the American League Central.
The surging Indians, however, came from behind to beat the Pirates and pull into a tie with the Sox (34-24) for second place.
For a team trying to find itself coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Indians and an ugly road trip that followed the franchise’s first postseason clincher since 2008, a blowout loss to the crosstown rival Cubs was an odd way to show it.
The Cubs had scored 10 runs in their previous seven games combined.
‘‘It puts you in a situation where you’re embarrassed,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘We have to respond [Saturday] and play the game.’’
The frustration appears to setting in. Right-hander Jimmy Cordero, in what looked like retaliation for a bat flip by Willson Contreras after a three-run home run in the third inning, was ejected after hitting Contreras in the back with a fastball in the seventh.
Cordero said it was not intentional.
‘‘I just came into the game to do my job,’’ Cordero said. ‘‘I just made a bad pitch.’’
After umpire Dan Bellino conferred with his crew and made the decision to toss Cordero, Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper charged out of the dugout — an airborne bottle of water ahead of them — and also were ejected. It was Renteria’s third ejection of the week.
It has been that kind of week for the Sox, who lost four tough games to the Indians before this one. This game wrapped up with infielder Yolmer Sanchez pitching the ninth and giving up another homer to Contreras.
Sox right-hander Dylan Cease yielded a solo homer to Kyle Schwarber in the second, a three-run blast to Contreras in the third and a solo shot to Javy Baez in the fourth to put the Sox in a 5-0 hole.
Victor Caratini hit his first homer of the season against left-hander Gio Gonzalez in the sixth.
‘‘It’s not like we don’t know we are a good team,’’ Cease said. ‘‘We just have to put it together. We’ve had a good season; the last week hasn’t been good. We have good players. We don’t need to panic or do anything drastically different. We just have to bring it to the park.’’
‘‘Today, obviously, it was handed to us,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I think they’ll be more fired up to play [Saturday].
‘‘I just want to keep playing good baseball and have these guys feeling good about how we’re going to go into this next phase of the season because they’ve worked extremely hard. We’ve had a little bump in the road here the last seven, 10 days, whatever it’s been.’’
The bump has been more than a little one, and it was a bit more jarring Friday.
The Sox have two more games to try to secure the No. 4 seed they entered the game with. The top four seeds play at home in the entire best-of-three opening series.
‘‘Always, always [home field is] going to be important,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘Everybody understands when you’re in your own environment, it’s always a little bit more comfortable, right?’’
The Sox entered the game knowing they could play any of six teams in the playoffs.
‘‘In terms of who we want to see, I don’t care who we play,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I want our club to finish as strongly as possible.’’