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Wake-up call? White Sox lose fifth in row

Bullpen gives up the lead after pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal’s three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Pirates.

AP Photos

PITTSBURGH — Maybe the White Sox will find out what they’re really made of now.

‘‘It’s kind of like a test right now,’’ right-hander Lucas Giolito said after the Sox’ 6-3 loss Tuesday to the Pirates that saw them go ahead on pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal’s uplifting three-run home run in the seventh, only to see the lead disappear quickly in the bottom of the inning. ‘‘Rough series [in Houston], and we drop this first game. Maybe a little wake-up call we need. We have to come ready to play from the beginning of the game.’’

The Sox had been mesmerized by funky left-hander Tyler Anderson before the switch-hitting Grandal, batting right-handed, gave the dugout a jolt with his first-pitch homer.

As invigorating as Grandal’s fourth career pinch homer was, a bullpen collapse and shaky defense moments later dragged the Sox back into the familiar, weary ways of this winless (to this point) road trip that began with a four-game sweep in Houston.

‘‘That little blow-up inning,’’ said Giolito, who allowed two runs and four hits, struck out seven and walked two in six innings and was in the line for the victory after Grandal came through batting for Zack Collins.

The meltdown involved reliever Garrett Crochet giving up singles to each of the four batters he faced, one of them on a bunt by Kevin Newman on which third baseman Yoan Moncada misfired to second baseman Danny Mendick covering first, allowing the tying run to score.

Crochet then left a breaking pitch up to pinch hitter Erik Gonzalez, who singled in two runs, before Bryan Reynolds capped the Pirates’ four-run seventh with an RBI single against reliever Aaron Bummer.

‘‘The word is ‘cruel,’ ’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘Because Yaz lit up the dugout, and we were looking at a one-run game.

‘‘When we hit the home run and got the lead, just try to hang in there. Cruel. You saw the way the inning played out. We’ll talk [about] what could have been done better to change the outcome, but probably the one thing that I’m sure Garrett regrets is he got the one breaking ball up to [Gonzalez].’’

The Sox have to find a way to beat the Pirates on Wednesday to avoid an 0-6 trip.

Giolito had the Sox’ first hit against the Pirates, one of five singles they had to go with Grandal’s homer.

‘‘We came out a little flat, which can be expected sometimes after a day off,’’ Grandal said. ‘‘[The homer] was the turning point of the game, and the dugout came alive. That’s what we need to get back to White Sox baseball. Go, go, go and high energy at all times.’’

Grandal said he knew he might pinch-hit in that situation if it came up. He is usually super-selective, but he was looking to drive in runs on the first pitch.

The Sox, who are hitting and walking less, no longer lead American League in on-base percentage, now ranking third.

‘‘It’s baseball,’’ hitting coach Frank Menechino said. ‘‘We’ve run into a little bit of a hard time, and we have to find our way out of it.

‘‘It’s hard to pick out one thing. Everybody is different, and everybody is pitched different. It’s basically about getting back on our approach. We’re not taking our walks as much. We’re kind of chasing and pushing the issue a little bit, trying to make stuff happen.’’

La Russa said he didn’t sense the Sox being flat. And his team is still in first place in the AL Central.

‘‘It was a very determined attitude today,’’ he said. ‘‘I could sense it. I could hear it in the clubhouse, in the hitter’s meeting, in the batting practice, in the dugout.

‘‘But what you learn sometimes [is that] just because you want something to happen, you don’t have a magic wand. Just got to keep that excitement for tomorrow, salvage something here.’’