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Chicago White Sox fall back to 20 games under .500 with their 4th straight loss, 9-3 to Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO — Erick Fedde has been the most consistent starter for the Chicago White Sox this season.

He described Monday’s outing against the Toronto Blue Jays as “not my best.”

Fedde allowed five runs — matching a season high — in six innings in a 9-3 loss in front of 36,993 at Rogers Centre.

“They came out very aggressive and put a lot of balls in play early,” Fedde said. “They hit them hard. I feel like I made some adjustments and pitched better as the game went on. At least if you’re not going to throw well, try to go deep and give the bullpen a rest.”

Fedde allowed seven hits, which also matched a season high, struck out two and walked one while suffering his first loss of the season (4-1).

“Their game plan was to attack Erick early,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “They put some good swings together early. But he made an adjustment and ended up giving us a much-needed six innings.”

Fedde entered Monday tied for 11th in the American League with a 2.60 ERA. He hadn’t allowed a run in his previous 13 innings, pitching six scoreless May 9 against the Cleveland Guardians and seven in the second game of a May 14 doubleheader against the Washington Nationals.

Fedde had a 1-2-3 first inning Monday, but Daulton Varsho hit a two-run homer in the second to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. Toronto added two more in the third on an RBI double by Danny Jansen and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They know that I haven’t been walking a lot of people and put together a good game plan today,” Fedde said. “They were beating me early with being super aggressive on the sinker. We decided if they were going to do that, try to make them chase inside. My sweeper started to get better as the game went on.”

Fedde has pitched at least six innings in five of his last six starts.

“It shows the growth I’ve had as a pitcher,” he said. “I never want to be the kind of guy that puts the bullpen in bad situations or is someone they can’t count on.

“I’m thankful Pedro gave me a chance to work into the sixth inning. I hope he feels confidence in me to get through stuff and can trust me to do that.”

Jansen hit a two-run homer against reliever Jordan Leasure in the seventh.

Sox shortstop Paul DeJong had three hits, including a solo home run, and two RBIs.

The Sox (14-34) have dropped four in a row and matched a season high by falling 20 games under .500. It’s the worst 48-game start in franchise history.

Before the game, the Sox designated pitcher Brad Keller for assignment and reinstated reliever Dominic Leone from the 15-day injured list.

Keller had just been moved back into the rotation last week and started Saturday at Yankee Stadium. He allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk in four-plus innings in the 6-1 loss. The Yankees hit four solo home runs against Keller, two by Juan Soto.

Keller is 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA and 13 strikeouts in five appearances (two starts) this season.

“Brad did a really nice job,” Grifol said before the game. “He came in as an NRI (nonroster invitee in March), he threw the ball good, he ended up making our team after he went down and got himself built up. He threw good for us out of the pen, (and) we wanted to see him in the rotation. Saw him twice. And we wanted to go in a different direction.

“He has to go figure some things out. He has weapons to be good, the body to be durable. I’ve seen him really, really good. He’ll get an opportunity somewhere and he’ll figure this thing out and have a good career.”

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Grifol said the Sox haven’t determined who will step into the open rotation spot.

“(Michael) Soroka had a good appearance (Saturday), but I don’t know if he’s going to be the guy we want to do that,” he said.

Soroka threw four scoreless innings and struck out seven in his first relief appearance of the season. He had previously been in the rotation.

Leone had been on the IL since May 5 with lower back tightness. He is 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA, three holds and 15 strikeouts in 18 relief appearances.

“I think we were more cautious than anything to just make sure it doesn’t spiral into anything crazy,” Leone told the Tribune.

He allowed one run on one hit, a double, and struck out one in two-thirds of an inning Monday. The Sox surrendered eight extra-base hits in their eighth consecutive loss to the Blue Jays.