Chicago White Sox starter Michael Soroka threw a sinker down and in while facing Christian Encarnacion-Strand in the third inning Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It was the right pitch in a good location against the Cincinnati Reds first baseman.

But the way everything’s going for the Sox, even that wasn’t enough for a positive result.

Encarnacion-Strand launched the pitch over the left-center wall for a two-run home run. It was the start of another big offensive day for the Reds and a record-setting defeat for the Sox.

Soroka allowed five runs on five hits and walked six in 4 2/3 innings in the 11-4 loss to the Reds in front of 17,589.

“I can get over the homer, it was a decent pitch,” Soroka said. “But obviously the walks are unacceptable and I got burned on that and there was a reason I wasn’t able to go deeper after I did eventually figure things out.”

The Sox took another step in the wrong direction as their record fell to 2-13 — the worst 15-game start in franchise history. The previous low mark through 15 games was 3-12, which had occurred three times — most recently in 1968.

“Look, we’re getting punched in the gut right now,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “This is how you find out what we’re made of as a group.”

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Michael Soroka, left, walks to the dugout after turning the ball over to manager Pedro Grifol (5) during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Chicago, Sunday, April 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Michael Soroka, left, walks to the dugout after turning the ball over to manager Pedro Grifol during the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sunday, April 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Sox stumbled in many areas Sunday. They surrendered two home runs, walked eight batters, made three errors and saw the Reds steal six bases. The Reds reached double figures in runs for the second time in the series.

“It sucks — I mean, no one likes losing,” second baseman Nicky Lopez said. “No one wants to struggle. You can use the term ‘It’s early,’ you can do any of that stuff, but it’s our livelihoods, it’s our careers, and no one likes to struggle.

“But the good thing is, we play 140-some more (games). Just keep attacking it and try to stay as positive as you can, and hopefully it turns.”

Overall, the Sox were outscored 27-5 while getting swept in the three-game series.

“There’s a lot of talent on this team,” Soroka said. “There’s a lot of guys who know how to play this game hard. Most of us that are in a rut are trying too hard to get to the other side of it. It’s a tough game that way. It’s not a game that you can outhustle someone in the game, on the mound, or in the box. You have to find that happy zone of being relaxed and letting your stuff play.

“It’s easier said than done, but that needs to be an adjustment I make going into the next game and carry those last two innings (Sunday, which included four strikeouts) and be who I know I can be. I think back to the times I did have the most success, the game felt easiest. It felt like everything wasn’t a struggle or I wasn’t treating every hitter like ’04 Barry Bonds. Attacking them, letting it eat, letting my stuff play.”

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