White Sox three-game winning streak comes to a halt

Veteran that he is, Johnny Cueto didn’t rattle after the Dodgers jumped him for two early home runs. Instead, he settled in and shut them down for the rest of his six innings.

But with the way the White Sox are struggling to score runs, and on a night they faced tough right-hander Tony Gonsolin, their 4-1 loss that halted a nice three-game winning streak seemed mapped out early.

The Sox scraped together four hits, one of them a homer by Jake Burger in the fifth. The next two batters reached but Gonsolin (7-0, 1.58 ERA) retired Danny Mendick, Leury Garcia and Luis Robert and the Sox were never to be heard from again.

Cueto served up a two-run homer to Dodgers cleanup batter Will Smith in the first inning and a leadoff homer to Cody Bellinger in the second.

As the Sox wait to get Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez back from injuries for certain and probable lineup boosts, respectively, their starting rotation is settling into a good place.

Cueto is getting the chance to be the fifth starter now that Dallas Keuchel has been jettisoned from the organization, and the Sox will be more than happy with the caliber of performance the 36-year-old veteran has produced.

Cueto, who allowed one hit after the Bellinger homer, struck out five and allowing three runs on four hits and one walk over six innings against one of the most prolific lineups in the majors.

In five starts since he was brought up from Charlotte after signing a minor-league deal, Cueto has pitched six innings four times and 6 2/3 innings once. The rest of the Sox rotation has thrown six-plus innings 11 times in 48 starts.

With Michael Kopech (1.94 ERA) having the look of a Game 1 postseason starter when he tossed six scoreless innings in a 4-0 win over the Dodgers Tuesday, Dylan Cease (3.39 ERA) leading the majors with 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings, Opening Day starter Lucas Giolito pitching to a 3.54 ERA – although his last two starts were on the wobbly side — and All-Star Lance Lynn pitching what might have been his final tuneup for Triple-A Charlotte Wednesday night, the Sox might finally be piecing their rotation together.

Lynn, a workhorse himself who hasn’t made any starts because of a knee injury suffered in spring training that required surgery, could join the rotation as soon as Monday, when the Sox open a road trip that begins in Detroit and goes through Houston.

“If his arm and his leg feel good, then he’ll be here next week,” manager Tony La Russa said. “If not, we’ll give him another [start for Charlotte].”

Lynn’s numbers were none too pretty but he threw 55 of his 77 pitches for strikes, which is generally the focus for proven pitchers building up workloads on rehab assignments. Lynn allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in rehab start for Charlotte. He struck out three and walked one. His ERA in three starts is 8.10.

As for momentum, the Sox had some going against Gonsolin when designated hitter Jake Burger led off the fifth with a homer, his sixth. Burger has hit safely with at least one RBI in his four straight games and has four homers, four doubles and 12 RBI in his last 10.

After the Burger homer, Gavin Sheets doubled and AJ Pollock walked, keeping the crowd of 25,078 perked up, but Danny Mendick bounced into a forceout, Leury Garcia struck out and Luis Robert flied out.

Garcia, whose hitting line dipped to .184/.194/.257 in the first year of his three-year, $16.5 million contract, was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. La Russa was asked why he had confidence in batting Garcia, who had been slowed by a sore hip in recent days, in Anderson’s customary leadoff spot.

“You see your average and you want to get two or three hits today. Can’t do that,” La Russa said. “All you can do is control your four at-bats. And he’s feeling better. He’s a very talented guy.”

Trea Turner homered against Jose Ruiz in the ninth inning for the Dodgers’ fourth run.

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