Perhaps the only aspect stranger than the White Sox's last-place ranking in league fielding is that they won't play the American League Central-leading Tigers until July 9.

"That's strange, but there are a lot of things this year that have been very strange to me," slugger Adam Dunn said Thursday after the Cubs had humbled the Sox 8-3 for their third consecutive loss. "We have to figure it out. That's the main thing."

And it might be an urgent matter as the Sox try to stay within striking distance of the Tigers during a 31-game stretch outside the division, continuing with a six-game trip to the West Coast starting Friday night against the A's in Oakland.

"If we don't play better, it's all for nothing," said Dunn, who is batting .153 after a 1-for-25 slump. "I know it starts offensively, and I have to get going. There's no other way to put it. And for us to be only (41/2 games) out … it would be nice to close the gap, but the main thing is we have to play better, or it's for naught."

The Sox don't resume division play until June 18 against the Twins at Minnesota, and they're fortunate the Royals have lost 19 of 23 since beating the Sox on May 5.

The lack of a dependable defense continues to haunt the Sox, as the Cubs' four-run fourth inning represented a microcosm of Sox gaffes this season. Welington Castillo's infield popup, which twisted in a stiff wind, fell untouched just to the left of the pitcher's mound to start the rally.

Travis Wood made the Sox pay a huge price when he hit a grand slam off Jake Peavy, but the miscues continued when left fielder Dayan Viciedo took an adventuresome route on an Anthony Rizzo drive that skipped past him for a triple.