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Rapid Reaction: Pirates 3, White Sox 2

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox fell 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, losing all four games against the National League Central team this week.

How it happened: The White Sox saw their losing streak reach seven games and their record reach a season-low nine games under .500 at 28-37. The Pirates won their season-best eighth consecutive game. In the midst of their losing streak, the White Sox put up a tough fight against one of baseball’s best pitchers. White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija gave up just two runs on an infield single and a sacrifice fly. Pirates starter Gerrit Cole, who now has an MLB-leading 11 victories, gave up his two runs on a sacrifice fly to Melky Cabrera and a home run to Geovany Soto in the seventh inning. Gregory Polanco’s RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth inning gave the Pirates the lead for good.

What it means: Samardzija continues to improve in what has been a rough June, not that it led to a victory. He gave up nine runs to the Rangers in his first June outing, then gave up six runs to the Tigers one outing later. He took the loss in both outings. In his last outing, the right-hander gave up three runs in seven innings to the Tampa Bay Rays, followed by two runs in seven innings Thursday against the Pirates. Samardzija has a 6.84 ERA in June.

Outside the box: The White Sox managed to pin two earned runs on Cole, the first time the Pirates starter has given up that many since May 27 against the Miami Marlins. Cole has given up two earned runs or more in just six of his 14 starts this season. Soto’s home run was just the fifth Cole has allowed all season and the first he had given up in June.

Off beat: Errors don’t always show up in the box score, as Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez had a miscommunication problem in the seventh inning when the Pirates’ Corey Hart hit a popup to center field. The bloop fell between both White Sox fielders as neither appeared to take charge on the play. Hart was actually credited with a single, with Samardzija pitching around the blunder. In the eighth inning, Jung Ho Kang reached first base when Jose Abreu couldn’t handle Gordon Beckham’s throw on a tough play near the second-base bag. That went for a hit as well, with Kang eventually scoring the game-winning run.

Up next: White Sox left-hander Chris Sale (6-3, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound Friday against Texas in the opener of a three-game series. The Rangers will counter with right-hander Colby Lewis (6-3, 4.37) in the 7:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.