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One day after ‘flat’ flap, Chicago White Sox fall to 15-40 with their 6th straight loss and 10th in 11 games

Manager Pedro Grifol saw some areas of improvement a day after what he called a “flat” performance.

But the Chicago White Sox still suffered their sixth straight defeat Monday with a 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 14,993 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“We had better at-bats today,” Grifol said. “We competed extremely well at the plate and battled, did a pretty good job, but we just didn’t get the big hit.”

The Blue Jays’ timely hitting came in the form of three home runs — two against starter Nick Nastrini.

The right-hander allowed three runs on three hits with five strikeouts and four walks in five innings. He surrendered a two-out, two-run homer to George Springer in the second and a solo homer to Bo Bichette leading off the fourth.

Still, Nastrini made progress from last week, when he returned to the majors after a stint in Triple A and allowed eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

“There’s some good, there’s some bad, there’s some things I’ve got to work on,” Nastrini said. “Walks definitely need to come down. But I executed pitches when I had to. I had runners on second and third in that fourth (inning) and got out of it.

“Definitely some things I need to work on, but compared to the last one, it was a step in the right direction.”

The Sox, though, continued their slide. They’ve lost 10 of 11, and their 15-40 record is the worst in franchise history after 55 games.

Before the game, Grifol elaborated on Sunday’s postgame media session, in which he said after a 4-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles that “most of the guys were f—— flat.”

“We all have a responsibility here in the major leagues to come out and give it our very best every single day,” Grifol said Monday morning. “We have a responsibility to our owner, we have a responsibility to this uniform that we wear, to the fans who come see us play. We have to have a responsibility to this every single day.

“Not once in a while. Not four out of five. Not six out of seven. Every single day we have a responsibility. I’m not saying everybody is going to be perfect on that because I certainly have to crosscheck myself on that every once in a while, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let me personally be flat the whole day. If I catch myself being flat, I’ve got to kick myself in the ass and make sure I’m giving everything I’ve got every single day I put a major-league uniform on.

“It’s a privilege to be a major-leaguer. It’s a privilege to be in this building. Every single day you come in here, you have to look at it that way.”

The Sox had just one hit Sunday, a solo home run by pinch hitter Danny Mendick in the eighth.

“Right after a tough stretch like that, emotions are high,” outfielder/first baseman Gavin Sheets said before Monday’s game. “Everybody’s pissed off, everybody’s disappointed and that’s what happens. You go right into interviews and obviously we had a closed-door meeting that got outside the doors.

“But obviously everybody’s frustrated in that moment, and that’s what happens after a tough stretch like that.”

It marked the eighth time the Sox have been swept in a series this season.

“We want to get the job done as professionals, but sometimes it can be looked at as coming out flat,” second baseman Nicky Lopez said before Monday’s game. “We didn’t get a hit for the first (seven) innings. It was kind of dead in the dugout because there was really nothing to get up for.

“We lost a couple of close games to them where we battled pretty good earlier in the series, and then we got it shoved to us pretty good. (Orioles starter Kyle) Bradish was on, he was throwing a three-, four-pitch mix.”

Grifol didn’t shy away from the message Monday morning.

“I’m doubling down on what I said yesterday — I thought we were flat,” Grifol said before Monday’s game. “And that’s where I’m going to leave it. We have to make adjustments today, OK. And go out there and play the game as hard as we can.

“(The players) have their opinions. I have mine. This is not divided by any means. This is not them against Pedro, Pedro against them. It’s just a situation, I thought we were flat. They didn’t think we were flat. It’s over. We’ve got to go out there and play baseball.”

Grifol didn’t get into the specifics of “what flat looks like” but said the comments were not an attempt at motivation.

“It’s not about Pedro making a point to anybody in public for whatever reason you’re thinking about,” Grifol said. “I come out here every day to describe what happened in the game. And I gave you what happened in yesterday’s game. I thought (starter Garrett) Crochet was great. And I thought we were flat. And that was it.”

The Sox hung around Monday, with Sheets’ homer in the eighth bringing them within 3-1. But Davis Schneider hit a two-run homer off Sox reliever John Brebbia in the ninth, extending Toronto’s lead.

The first two batters reached for the Sox in the ninth, but Bryan Ramos grounded into a double play and Sheets bounced out to second to end it. The Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base while falling to 2-16 in series openers.

“(The) biggest thing is scoring points,” first baseman Andrew Vaughn said. “That’s how you win ballgames. We didn’t cash in.”