Well, that was deflating for the White Sox.
It took a slow, steady climb for the Sox to get back up to the .500 mark and regain much of their confidence.
Contact information ( * required )
It took Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija 2 hours and 25 minutes Monday night to put the White Sox back in a bad place.
"He was as good as anyone we've seen," manager Robin Ventura said after Samardzija pitched a 2-hit shutout to lift the Cubs to a 7-0 interleague win over the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
"It was tough. We had a similar one, as far as stuff, with (Mets starter Matt) Harvey in New York. It was similar stuff."
Conor Gillaspie led off the third inning with a single off Samardzija, and Alexei Ramirez singled with two outs in the ninth.
Nothing else to see here, White Sox fans.
"He threw every single pitch for a strike, it seemed like," said Gillapsie, who was likely wondering how Samardzija came in with a 2-6 record. "His fastball moves all over the place. You get to two strikes, you're in trouble with a guy like that. He got ahead a lot. He was on tonight.
"Sometimes you've got to tip your cap. A guy is throwing mid-upper 90s (mph) with off-speed stuff like he's throwing. It wasn't like he was bouncing it. He was throwing it for strikes."
Sox starter Jose Quintana (3-2) hung with Samardzija through the first four innings, but the left-hander walked Ryan Sweeney with one out in the fifth inning and Cubs center fielder Julio Borbon homered with two down to effectively decide the outcome.
"I didn't feel that it was that good of a night," Quintana said through a translator after allowing 4 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings. "I just made a bad pitch (to Borbon), and I can't make that kind of mistake in that situation.
"I feel that can't happen there. The game is tight and that's a situation where I have to keep the game (close)."
Before the game, Ventura was talking about how much the White Sox' defense has improved since he called for an early practice session May 14 at Minnesota.
"I hope it's a coincidence because you don't always want to do that." Ventura said before the game. "Those things happen, and I think it could go one of two ways. You could either not care and let it go the other way, or you change it. And so far they've changed it."
Not that it really mattered with Samardzija on the mound, but the Sox reverted back to sloppy defensive play in the first or four straight games against their North Side rivals.
In the first inning, Starlin Castro easily stole second base when shortstop Alexei Ramirez neglected to cover second base.
With struggling reliever Nate Jones on the mound in the seventh, catcher Tyler Flowers was charged with a throwing error and center fielder Alejandro De Aza misjudged an Anthony Rizzo drive that scored a pair of runs.
"You can't win if you play like that," Ventura said. "I don't know if it was flat … if Samardzija made us flat or we were just flat. It was definitely not what we've been playing like."
While Jones didn't get much defensive support, the right-hander allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in the seventh inning and has yielded 14 earned runs in 13 innings since April 28.
Is Jones in danger of being sent down?
"Right now, he needs to fix it here," Ventura said. "We've seen it. It's there. I don't know if it's the lack of confidence or what. Stuff-wise, it's not a velocity issue at all. It's going to be more location and the confidence of being able to continue to do that."
•Follow Scot's White Sox and baseball reports on Twitter@scotgregor, and check out his Chicago's Inside Pitch blog at dailyherald.com.