White Sox swept by Blue Jays in Toronto

TORONTO — It’s to the point where the White Sox and their non-threatening lineup are just trying to keep their heads above water on this road trip against two tough American League East teams.

But the Sox aren’t even doing a good job of that.

Their 8-3 loss to the streaking Blue Jays Thursday afternoon at Rogers Centre capped a three-game series sweep for Toronto, which won for the eighth time in a row.

The Sox fell to 23-26, losing for the sixth time in eight games. They started the day tied with Cleveland for second in the AL Central and trail the Twins by 4 1/2 games. The Sox are banged up with numerous core players injured, and the feeling on the coaching staff and in the clubhouse is that better results are ahead.

They also know they can’t afford to let themselves get buried in June. A series at the Rays is next, followed by the Dodgers at home.

After being dominated by early season Cy Young contender Alek Manoah for seven innings Thursday, the Sox made a game of it in the eighth, cutting a 4-0 deficit to 4-3 on Luis Robert’s two-run double with two out in the eighth and Yoan Moncada’s RBI single.

But it was brief. The Jays responded with four runs in the eighth against Reynaldo Lopez and Aaron Bummer to make it 8-3, putting the game on ice.

The Sox had one good early shot against Manoah, and that was in the first inning when Leury Garcia and Robert opened the game with singles. Moncada, starting for the first time in eight days, popped out on the first pitch and Jose Abreu struck out on a slider beneath the strike zone. After Gavin Sheets walked to load the bases, Yasmani Grandal struck out looking to end the inning.

Grandal’s strikeout started a streak of 16 batters retired in a row by Manoah, who allowed three runs over 7 2/3 innings.

Sox veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto, in his fourth start, allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings. The unearned run, the first run of the game, scored in the third when Raimel Tapia doubled and advanced to third onr right fielder Gavin Sheets’ throwing error on a toss that bounced through shortstop Garcia.

After Bradley Zimmer was hit by a Cueto pitch, Tapia scored when Santiago Espinal bounced into a double play. Tapia scored the second run on Espinal’s double in the fifth, and Teoscar Hernandez’ two-run homer in the sixth put the Sox in a 4-0 hole.

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