White Sox drop another series, lose 4-3 to Astros

The Sox fell back to 14 games below .500 (14-28) despite home runs from Luis Robert Jr. and Jake Burger.

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Lucas Giolito and the White Sox lost 4-3 to the Astros.

Lucas Giolito and the White Sox lost 4-3 to the Astros.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

Lucas Giolito was strong after the first inning. Luis Robert Jr. continued his torrid May by hitting a home run in his third consecutive game. And Jake Burger returned from the injured list with a two-run homer of his own.

But those are just details for a White Sox team that has a major hole to escape, one that got deeper with their 4-3 loss Sunday to the Astros.

‘‘We’re just obviously going to keep working hard,’’ Burger said. ‘‘I feel like we keep beating on the same drum, but we have the talent in here. It’s just putting it together and getting results on the field now.’’

The Sox have little time to do that if they want to make anything of their 2023 season, which is already more than a quarter complete.

They again fell 14 games below .500 and missed a chance to take a series from the defending World Series champion Astros, a group that doesn’t look the same as the 2022 juggernaut that won 106 games. Combined with the American League Central-leading Twins’ rout of the Cubs, the loss knocked the Sox 9½ games off the pace in the division.

And thanks to Giolito’s rough first inning, the Sox spent the entire game behind. The Astros scored three runs in the first, two on a double by Yordan Alvarez and a third on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Tucker.

Giolito said that the inning was probably the worst he has felt physically all season and that his stuff wasn’t crisp. He didn’t use that as an excuse, however.

‘‘A huge part of a starting pitcher’s job is to set the tone early and keep momentum on our side,’’ Giolito said. ‘‘I failed to do that. Three-run first inning, just [expletive].’’

Other than giving up a homer to Yainer Diaz in the fourth, however, Giolito looked sharp the rest of the day. That first inning, however, was too much for the Sox to recover from.

‘‘Really wanted to win this series, and the reason we lost is because of my first inning there,’’ said Giolito, who pitched six innings. ‘‘Killed momentum for us. Handed it all over to the other side, and then we had to play coming out of a hole. So obviously very frustrated with that. But now we move on. Off-day [Monday] and go win the next series.’’

Robert did his best to help the Sox rally, homering in the fourth against Astros starter Hunter Brown. The homer was his sixth of May and 11th of the season.

Unfortunately for Robert and the Sox, his breakout will be in vain unless the team can find a way to embark on a massive turnaround.

‘‘Every day, we go out trying to be competitive,’’ Robert said through a translator. ‘‘Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t. But you can’t control that. What you can control is to go out there and be competitive. I’m sure that’s what I’m trying to do, and I’m pretty sure that’s what the rest of my teammates are trying to do, too.’’

Still, being competitive and trying hard won’t mean much for the Sox if they continue down this path. Sunday was another frustrating day in what has the potential to become one of the most frustrating seasons in franchise history, considering the amount of talent the team has and the years spent building a roster that was supposed to be a long-term contender.

‘‘Gio, today, looked great,’’ Burger said. ‘‘It was just some unfortunate hits that he gave up. He looks great. Everybody looks great. It’s just . . . we’ve got to start getting results.’’

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