MLB-worst White Sox snap 7-game skid with their 4th win of the season, 9-4 over Rays

CHICAGO (AP) — Light-hitting Martín Maldonado hit a three-run homer, Eloy Jiménez added a two-run-shot and the MLB-worst Chicago White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak with their fourth win of the season, a 9-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

The nine runs were a season high for Chicago, which at 4-22 is off to the worst start in franchise history through 26 games. Baltimore started 2-24 in 1988.

Maldonado added a single. The 37-year-old catcher entered hitting .048, with two hits in 42 at-bats with no RBIs. He batted .191 with 15 homers last season for Houston.

“I'm always trying to help the team,” Maldonado said. “The way I've been swinging the bat, coming through like that felt good.

“This game is so negative mentally," he added. "If you go 3 for 10, you fail seven times. It's always good when you see results in the field.”

Chris Flexen (1-3) worked five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and walking three. The right-hander, who entered with a 6.41 ERA, exited after walking two batters to open the sixth and was followed by five relievers.

"He pounded the strike zone," manager Pedro Grifol said. “He had everything going. He really executed on his pitches. Other than those two walks, it was a pretty flawless start.”

Tommy Pham started in center field and had two singles in his White Sox debut after being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. The 36-year-old had signed a minor league on April 16, then went to the minors for four games to ramp up.

Paul DeJong had two hits and an RBI. Danny Mendick and Nicky Lopez each doubled and had two hits.

Tampa Bay lost for the fourth time in five games. Curtis Mead had two hits and an RBI. René Pinto, Jose Siri and Amed Rosario each drove in a run.

Rays starter Zach Eflin (1-3) yielded five runs on nine hits and four walks. The 30-year-old right-hander hadn’t allowed a run in his previous two starts, both no-decisions.

“It's gonna all click,” Eflin said. “It seems like we're all just not playing, playing good together. Defense, offense, pitching, it's just not all clicking at the same time.”

And on giving up nine runs to the White Sox, who entered having scored an MLB-low 56 times?

“Honestly, at the end of the day it's a big-league team,” Eflin said. “You know, there's not bad hitters out there.”

The White Sox also recalled outfielder Rafael Ortega from Charlotte on Friday, while optioning outfielder Dominic Fletcher. Chicago designated left-hander Bailey Horn and outfielder Kevin Pillar for assignment.

The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third on Andrew Vaughn’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.

Chicago increased it lead to 2-0 in fourth inning on Mendick’s double and DeJong’s RBI single.

Maldonado took Eflin deep to left on a 1-0 pitch in the sixth to make it 5-0.

“It was pretty middle, middle,” Eflin said. “Really good pitch to hit.”

The Rays cut it to 5-2 in the seventh on Pinto’s RBI double, followed by three straight walks. Jiménez connected in the bottom half.

Chicago added two unearned runs in the eighth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tampa Bay: LHP Colin Poche was placed on the 15-day injured list with mid-back tightness and had a cortisone shot. RHP Manuel Rodriguez was recalled from Triple-A Durham to take his roster spot. … OF Josh Lowe (right oblique strain) could return as early as Saturday, manager Kevin Cash said. … 1B Yandy Díaz exited in the eighth after being hit by a pitch. ... INF Jonathan Amanda (right finger fracture) was set to being a rehab stint at Durham.

UP NEXT

Tampa Bay RHP Aaron Civale (2-2, 3.90) faces Chicago rookie RHP Jonathan Cannon (0-1, 7.27) on Saturday night.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb