White Sox fall to 7-17 after getting blanked by Blue Jays for sixth loss in row

White Sox need to win Wednesday to avoid 0-6 road trip.

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White Sox starting pitcher Mike Clevinger allowed six runs in five innings to the Blue Jays Tuesday.

White Sox starting pitcher Mike Clevinger allowed six runs in five innings to the Blue Jays Tuesday.

AP

TORONTO — Six losses in a row, eight in their last nine and yet another series lost.

The tumbling White Sox fell to an alarming 7-17 with a 7-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. They need to win Wednesday afternoon to avoid an 0-6 road trip that started against the Rays.

“It hurts to lose a major-league game,” first-year manager Pedro Grifol said. “It hurts to lose six in a row. It hurts. There’s a lot of care in here.”

If only care was enough to result in wins. Tuesday’s outcome ensures the Sox will bring an 0-7-1 record in series going into another confrontation with the almost unbeatable Rays for four games starting Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field. The 7-17 start is the franchise’s worst since 1986.

What’s more, catcher Yasmani Grandal, limited last year to 99 games in a disappointing .500 season that somehow doesn’t look so bad now, left with a back spasm, Grifol said. Grandal, who has enjoyed good health in 2023, is day-to-day.

Speaking in soft tones in his office, outside an even quieter visitors Rogers Centre clubhouse, Grifol is running out of new things to say after losses.

“We can’t let this thing break us, and it won’t,” he said.

The Sox played well enough against the Rays to compete in two games over the weekend but haven’t in Toronto.

“We’re going through a tough part of the schedule,” said Andrew Benintendi, who had one of the Sox’ four singles and two of their 10 strikeouts. “Stuff is not going our way [and] we’re not executing.”

Right-hander Mike Clevinger (2-2, 4.81 ERA) was not up to the task of stopping the bleeding, allowing six runs on three walks and seven hits including Danny Jansen’s three-run homer after Clevinger walked the first two batters in the third.

“Walks will kill you, man,” Grifol said. “We’ve just got to attack the strike zone with the stuff that we have.”

Clevinger lasted five innings. Jansen also homered against Tanner Banks.

“Felt like I beat myself,” Clevinger said. “Got excited after the first inning, felt I was getting back to where I was pre-Tommy John [surgery]. And I let that excitement get the best of me.”

Jose Berrios, meanwhile, struck out Luis Robert Jr. on three pitches and then struck out Benintendi and Eloy Jimenez to set another lackluster offensive tone in the first inning for the Sox, who have 10 hits in their last three games. Robert (0-for-4) struck out twice, sinking deeper into a 3-for-44 skid with 17 strikeouts in his last 11 games. Grifol stuck with Robert in the injured Tim Anderson’s leadoff spot. On the plus side, he avoided getting tangled up on two occasions with right fielder Eloy Jimenez.

“I’m not going to take Luis out of the order because he’s had a bad seven to 10 days,” Grifol said. “He’s one of the better players in the game.”

The Sox entered having played the toughest schedule in baseball, their eight opponents combining for a .647 win percentage. In May, they face a schedule with a .402 win percentage, the easiest in the majors.

“We just have to get better,” Grifol said.

It wouldn’t hurt to have Anderson back. The Sox are 2-11 since their shortstop sprained his left knee, but any day now he’ll go to Triple-A Charlotte for a short three-day rehab stint before returning to the Sox. Third baseman Yoan Moncada (back) ramped up his activities but Grifol offered no timetable for his return.

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