CHICAGO — A week ago, the San Francisco Giants had the best record in baseball, a near double-digit division lead and they were piling up the wins seemingly with ease.
But manager Bruce Bochy knew a rough stretch was coming.
“I don’t care how good you are, you’re gonna have your ups and downs,” he said. “You’re gonna have your hiccups, your bumps in the road and you know it.
“What’s important is how you deal with it.”
What the Giants are dealing with now is a five-game losing streak.
Ace Tim Hudson was roughed up for seven runs — serving up homers to Cuban rookie sensation Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn — and the Chicago White Sox swept the brief two-game series with a 7-6 victory on Wednesday.
Abreu reached 20 homers in his 58th game, the third fewest in major league history behind Wally Berger (51 games) and Mark McGwire (56 games).
“I wasn’t aware of this happening, but it’s a good thing,” Abreu said through a translator. “I welcome it and I want to continue to help the team win. That’s what it’s all about right now.”
White Sox ace Chris Sale (6-1) labored, giving up three runs on eight hits through six-plus innings for Chicago. Ronald Belisario, pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to earn his seventh save.
Chicago now has won two straight following a four-game skid.
“Our guys, they’re tough,” manager Robin Ventura said. “They just keep grinding. We know we didn’t play well against (Kansas City), but put it behind you and you keep going. If you want to look in the rearview mirror and wallow on that, you’re going to get beat a lot more. These guys seem to stay with it and grind it out.”
Hudson (7-3) allowed seven runs and 12 hits in 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing this season. He entered the game with an MLB-leading 1.81 ERA.
“It’s frustrating, no doubt about it,” Hudson said. “The guys, they played their butts off all day behind and fought right there ’til the end. You score six runs on a day I pitch, we should win these games.
“For me, that’s the frustrating part.”
Abreu’s liner into the left field bullpen put Chicago ahead 2-0 in the first.
Tyler Flowers singled up the middle with the bases loaded in the fourth to drive in two runs and extend Chicago’s lead to 4-0.
The Giants cut it to 4-2 in the fifth when Buster Posey singled in a run and Pablo Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly, but Dunn’s homer to right against Hudson with none out in the bottom of the inning put Chicago up 7-2.
“Obviously, the big blow was that homer from Dunn,” Hudson said. “I just didn’t get that pitch where I wanted to and elevated a four-seamer. It wasn’t quite high enough and ran out over the plate.”
Sale was replaced by Jake Petricka with none out in the seventh after Juan Perez singled and Gregor Blanco walked. The Giants loaded the bases, but got only one run, on Posey’s sac fly to make it 7-3.
Blanco doubled in a run and Hunter Pence scored one on a fielder’s choice in the eighth off Zach Putnam, the third of four Chicago relievers. The Giants added their final run in the ninth on Colvin’s sacrifice fly.
“These guys didn’t lay down,” Bochy said. “They came back and fought hard today. We’ll come out of this. You hate going through ‘em, but it’s all about being resilient and this is a resilient club. We’ve gone through some tough losses.
“We faced two very good pitchers here. We needed our guys to be on top of their game and, unfortunately, they weren’t.
Notes: Dunn’s homer was his 452nd, tying him for 35th with Carl Yastrzemski. . Sale made his first career start against San Francisco. He hit two batters in the game after hitting only one all season. The game started 12 minutes late because of rain. … Giants OF Angel Pagan (lower back) was out of the lineup for a third straight game and is listed as day-to-day. … Posey was back behind the plate. He was at DH on Tuesday night after taking a foul off mask on Sunday. … The White Sox open an 11-game road trip on Thursday night at Minnesota. Chicago’s Jose Quintana (3-7) is scheduled to face Minnesota’s Yohan Pino (0-0), who will make his MLB debut. The Giants’ next game is at Arizona on Friday. Tim Lincecum (5-4) will face Josh Collmenter (4-4).