CHICAGO – It was like someone flipped a switch and Brandon McCarthy was left in the dark.
The Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander retired all nine White Sox batters he faced in the first three innings on 33 pitches.
Things unraveled quickly from there.
McCarthy (1-6) allowed nine hits and seven runs against 10 batters in the fourth and the Diamondbacks lost 9-3 to the White Sox. Alexei Ramirez's hit a grand slam was the biggest blow.
"I don't know if they changed their approach or just got super aggressive," said McCarthy, who pitched a season-low 3 1-3 innings. "I was throwing a lot of strikes. They just started jumping on everything. Even looking back, they're not terrible pitches. They're not anything different than what I was doing the first three innings, same approach.
"Everything felt the exact same as the first three innings. Just all of a sudden, every pitch I threw, I was turning and watching it go somewhere else. I'm baffled at this point."
Arizona went up 2-0 on Gerardo Parra's two-run homer in the third inning.
With McCarthy cruising, the lead appeared secure.
Things turned quickly.
Alejandro De Aza broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff double and scored on a single by Gordon Beckham. Following Conor Gillaspie's single, Jose Abreu drove in Beckham with a single to tie the score at 2 and make it four straight hits.
"There's outings where you know you're falling behind guys, you know you're making pitches right down the middle of the plate where you deserve to be punished," McCarthy said. "And there's outings like this where I came in here, you're furious when it happened but you don't know why. You're looking at everything you can."
The White Sox were just getting started.
Following a strikeout by Adam Dunn for the first out, Dayan Viciedo singled to load the bases and Ramirez broke the game open by sending a 3-0 pitch into the left-field bullpen for the sixth grand slam of his career.
"The first time around, he was able to throw his sinker. He was able to throw his curveball efficiently," Ramirez said about McCarthy through a translator. "The second time, I just kind of lay off of that stuff, and that's how I was able to get a good pitch. I think that's what everybody else did."
The White Sox kept on coming.
McCarthy, who threw 31 pitches in the fourth inning, was knocked from the game on the last of those hits, a run-scoring single by De Aza, to make it 7-2.
"He was just unable to make the pitches," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "Balls were just middle of the plate. He just couldn't get it on the edges. They put together a pretty good string against us."
Abreu hit his major league-leading 13th homer in the seventh inning off Trevor Cahill. Abreu was the designated hitter because of a nagging left ankle injury. He went 3 for 4 and leads the AL with 37 RBIs.
Tyler Flowers homered off Joe Thatcher in the eighth for the White Sox, who pounded out 15 hits.
Andre Rienzo (3-0) allowed three runs on four hits in 5 2-3 innings.
The Diamondbacks got a run back in the top of the fifth on a run-scoring single by A.J. Pollock.
NOTES: Chicago RHP Nate Jones, who's been sidelined all season with a mysterious back injury, had surgery Monday to repair a pinched nerve. "It is a relief," he said, "because after surgery I'm not feeling any pain in my hip." Jones isn't expected to begin baseball-related activity for four weeks, but expects to pitch this season. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura will miss Saturday's game to attend the graduation of his daughter, Rachel, at Oklahoma State. Bench coach Mark Parent will manage. ... LHP Wade Miley (2-3) faces Jose Quintana (1-2) in the second game of the series.