From bad to worse: White Sox pounded by Rays, suffer eighth straight loss

They drop to 7-19 after another embarrassing loss.

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Dylan Cease lasted just four innings Thursday.

White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease wipes his forehead after walking Tampa Bay Rays’ Yandy Diaz during the second inning Thursday night.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

If you’re going to finally win a game, it might as well be against the best. That’s the way White Sox manager Pedro Grifol looked at his woefully struggling team’s tall task of breaking a seven-game skid against the best team in baseball.

“I’m not going to tell you I’m in a great place, because I’m not,” Grifol said before his team got walloped 14-5 Thursday by the Rays in the opener of a four-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field. “And I’m glad we’re facing Tampa Bay. We’re facing the best right now in baseball. You’ve got to beat those teams if you want to go where you want to go and turn this thing around.”

If this loss demonstrates just how far the Sox are behind the best team, cover your eyes. The Rays (21-5) easily beat the Sox’ ace and extended the losing streak to eight. At least the Sox snapped a scoreless-innings streak at 25 on Lenyn Sosa’s RBI double in the second inning against Rays ace lefty Shane McClanahan. And Jake Burger hit his team-high sixth homer, then donned a black hat and “Southside” mobster coat in a fun but fleeting moment in the dugout.

The rest of the night was more misery. The Sox (7-19) surrendered four unearned runs thanks to an error by first baseman Andrew Vaughn and made lackluster plays in right field (Oscar Colas) and second base (Sosa) and at catcher (Yasmani Grandal’s passed ball).

Dylan Cease allowed seven runs (six earned) and nine hits and walked two in four innings. Jake Diekman gave up five runs (one earned) and three hits and walked two.

“I didn’t give us a chance to win,” Cease said. “It was just bad all around.”

There were boos early and often from an announced crowd of 11,060. Some wore bags over their heads.

“We absolutely understand any frustration, dissatisfaction or even finger-pointing that’s coming from outside the organization,” general manager Rick Hahn said before the game. “Absolutely get it.”

Stretches of 10 losses in the last 11 games, 13 of 15 and 16 of 20 will do that. With his team trailing by 11 runs in the seventh inning, Grifol got thrown out of the game by first-base ump Marvin Hudson after a close play didn’t go the Sox’ way.

“I had two seconds left on the clock to challenge, I signaled, and he didn’t give it to me,” Grifol said.

The Sox are desperate for a win, but they cling to the notion that they can still be a playoff team because of all the season that’s left.

“[The goal is] the same as it was when we started the season,” Hahn said. “We felt we had the talent to contend for this division, then make some noise in the postseason. We made our job a heck of a lot harder based on the first 25 games, but the goal hasn’t changed for us.”

“This thing’s going to turn around,” Grifol said before the game. “Just because it hasn’t gone our way, that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop doing the things we feel are necessary to win baseball games.”

Once again, they didn’t do much of anything to win a game Thursday.

“I don’t have much to say,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘We didn’t play defense today, didn’t hit with runners in scoring position [3-for-14]. We didn’t do much of anything.”

The Sox lost 8-0 and 7-0 in their previous two games. Two of their runs against Tampa Bay came in the ninth against outfielder Luke Raley.

“You don’t want to get punched in the face three nights in a row,” Burger said.

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