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In first games in 17 days, Cardinals sweep doubleheader from White Sox

The Sox seemed to be catching the Cardinals at the right time — the visiting coronavirus-ravaged Redbirds hadn’t played since July 29 — but it was the Sox, with their ace right-hander on the mound, who looked rusty.

Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu makes a fielding error on a ground ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals’ Tommy Edman, allowing Dexter Fowler to score during the fourth inning in Game 1 of a double-header baseball game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu makes a fielding error on a ground ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals’ Tommy Edman, allowing Dexter Fowler to score during the fourth inning in Game 1 of a double-header baseball game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
AP Photos

The White Sox seemed to be catching the Cardinals at the right time. The visiting Redbirds hadn’t played since July 29 because of 18 positive coronavirus tests. But it was the Sox, with their ace right-hander on the mound, who looked rusty, sloppy and offensively weak in getting swept in a doubleheader.

The Sox lost 5-1 in Game 1 with ace Lucas Giolito, then fell 6-3 in the nightcap. They dropped to 10-11, mustering three hits in each seven-inning game.

Giolito helped the Cardinals get going by walking leadoff hitter Kolten Wong to start the game, allowing a single to No. 2 hitter Tommy Edman and then hitting Tyler O’Neill and Matt Carpenter with one out. A two-run single by Dexter Fowler and an RBI single by Andrew Knizner made it 4-0.

It was pretty much all downhill from there, aside from tiebreaking homers by Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez in Game 2 that didn’t hold up.

“I need to be better in the first,” Giolito said. “I can’t put us in a hole there.”

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright gave up one run in five innings.

“Tipping your cap to a guy that was probably commanding better than anybody thought he was going to with the layoff,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s still Adam Wainwright.”

And who are the Sox? They’re a 10-11 team slightly past the one-third mark of an abbreviated 60-game season.

And they were the team that looked like the one that hadn’t played in weeks — hitting, pitching, and defensively, with a bad big inning in each game. In the fourth inning of Game 1, the Cardinals added a run without hitting the ball out of the infield. Giolito couldn’t get a handle on a tapper by Fowler near the mound, walked ninth-place hitter Harrison Bader and watched Fowler score when first baseman Jose Abreu couldn’t transfer the ball from his glove to his hand on what should have been a routine flip to Giolito covering first.

In a four-run fifth inning in

Game 2, there was a pop-fly single that fell in front of right fielder -Nomar Mazara, a wild pitch on a ball in the dirt between catcher James McCann’s legs and an RBI single off second baseman Danny Mendick’s glove on a difficult chance. There was also a double play that was overturned, a hit by pitch by righty Jimmy Cordero and a two-run homer by Tyler O’Neill against Evan Marshall.

Mix it all up, and that’s how you get swept.

Afterward, Renteria talked about the Sox’ “tremendous talent” that wasn’t showing up in the win column.

“Once talent finds a way to produce and execute and be consistent, the top will ultimately shine,” Renteria said. “We’re still trying to get through a whole lot of things that are going on, and we have to keep grinding. I’m not a panicker, we have to stay positive, we have to get better.”

On Monday, veteran left-hander Dallas Keuchel called out his teammates for going through the motions after a loss to the Tigers. Credit Wainwright and his sharp curveball if you will, but the Sox — who seemed to respond to Keuchel’s speech — looked like -another speech was in order.

“Absolutely,” Giolito said when asked if Keuchel’s words were necessary. “The way we were playing over a three-, four-game stretch wasn’t the type of baseball we can play. So I thought it was a great message, and it was received pretty well through the team.

“Unfortunate I didn’t continue that today. I’ll take the ball again next outing and make some -adjustments.”

As for the offense, Jimenez said everyone is “trying to be a hero.

“But bad days [happen] for good teams.”