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For Joe Maddon, it was a game of feet during Cubs’ 15-1 run

A lot of people could smell this one coming.

Well, anyone close enough to Joe Maddon the last few days could.

With his team riding a nine-game winning streak – winning 15 of their previous 16 – the Cubs’ manager revealed early Sunday one of his key secrets to the victory binge:

“I’ve worn the same pair of socks for many days, to and from the ballpark,” he said. “Camo.”

Every day of the winning streak. Without washing them, he said.

“They actually absorb sweat really well,” he said. “So it’s not awful.”

And White Sox ace Chris Sale made sure the absorbency would not be tested further – striking out 15 and allowing just one hit in seven scoreless innings Sunday as the Sox salvaged a 3-1 victory in the series finale.

The last time Maddon had the socks washed was Aug. 6, after the Cubs’ 7-5 loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh – before Sunday, the Cubs’ only loss since July 28.

And team officials confirmed late Sunday that the camouflage socks were, indeed, in the wash again.

Superstitious?

No, said Maddon, smiling and invoking one of his favorite Michael Scott lines from “The Office:”

“I’m just a little-stitious.”

The closest the Cubs came to scoring against Sale was in the sixth when they loaded the bases with two out for rookie Jorge Soler, who struck out looking on a questionable call.

“That really had a playoff moment attached to it, in a visceral sense,” Maddon said. “It was just all about the [sold-out] crowd, the moment, the bases loaded, everybody’s going nuts. It was outstanding.

“We didn’t get the knock we were looking for, but all those moments are going to contribute to our guys doing really well when it gets into September and eventually into October.”

The Cubs tied their franchise record for a nine-inning game by striking out 18 times against Sale (15) and Nate Jones (three) on Sunday – the second time this season they’ve hit (missed?) that mark.

The only other times the Cubs struck out as many times in a nine-inning game was May 2 against the Brewers this year and in 2011 against Atlanta. The Cubs also struck out 18 times against the Reds on July 21 this year, but six of those Ks came in extra-innings.

“Listen, you’re not going to win them all, man,” Maddon said. “We’ve been playing really well, and today we just ran into a good pitcher.”