White Sox fall to Rays, off to worst 36-game start in franchise history

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Chicago White Sox are setting franchise records for futility this season that the team would rather not set.

Zach Eflin allowed one run and six hits in seven innings Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, as the Rays beat the White Sox, 5-1, for their fifth consecutive win.

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The White Sox, on the other hand, dropped to 20 games under .500 at an American League-worst 8-28. It’s the worst 36-game start in the history of the franchise, which dates back to 1894.

“One thing this game teaches you is short-term memory,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “Regardless of whether you win or lose, you need to have short-term memory in this game.

“It’s the only way to get through a full season.”

The White Sox will now look to avoid having done to them what they did to the Rays less than two weeks ago when the teams conclude their season series Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay has won the first two games of the series, including Monday’s 8-2 victory, putting them on the verge of returning the favor of a sweep. The White Sox swept the Rays in a three-game set from April 26-28, giving Chicago nearly half its season win total.

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DeJong homers

In Tuesday’s game, Randy Arozarena and Isaac Paredes homered for the Rays, who moved over .500 at 19-18.

Eflin (2-4) lost the shutout when Paul DeJong homered with two outs in the seventh.

“Really good stuff, really good command,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He was really sharp. He made some big pitches when he had to.”

The right-hander worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fifth by getting a flyball from Gavin Sheets on a 3-0 pitch. Eflin also retired Sheets on a grounder with two on and two outs in the seventh.

“I was kind of surprised he swung at it, but I’ll take it any day,” Eflin said of Sheets’ at-bat in the fifth. “Threw a pretty good sinker, and he hit a flyball to right that got me out of the jam.”

Eflin earned his first win since April 2. He lost his previous three decisions.

Arozarena put the Rays up 4-0 on a two-run homer off Michael Soroka (0-4) in the third. The 2023 AL All-Star has three homers in his last five games and has raised his batting average from .143 to .152 during the series with Chicago.

“I think we’re seeing a guy that is starting to feel a little bit better about himself,” Cash said.

Harold Ramírez had an RBI single in a two-run second.

Soroka allowed four runs, three hits and four walks over five innings.

Paredes made it 5-0 on a solo homer off Brad Keller in the sixth.

Up next

White Sox RHP Chris Flexen (1-3, 4.85 ERA) and Rays RHP Aaron Civale (2-2, 6.14) are Wednesday night’s starters. Civale has allowed 18 runs in 13 2/3 innings over his last three starts.

First pitch is scheduled for 5:50 p.m.

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