Sale strikes out 12 in losing effort against Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Chris Sale turned a dominant outing into a loss with two bad pitches.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer off Sale in the seventh inning Sunday, lifting the Tampa Bay Rays to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox for a three-game sweep. But it was the walk to Steven Souza Jr., the preceding batter, that had Sale most upset.
''We had `em pretty much where we wanted, and it was a stupid mistake walking the guy,'' Sale said. ''Then a fastball right down the middle and you lose the game. It was really nothing more than that.''
Sale (6-3) struck out 12, walked three and hit a batter over 6 2-3 innings. He became the first pitcher since Boston's Pedro Martinez in 2001 to strike out 12 or more in four straight starts. The left-hander allowed two runs and three hits and became the first pitcher in White Sox history to lose a game in which he struck out 12 and allowed three hits or fewer. He threw 125 pitches, two short of his career high.
''We talked about 115 (for) his limit, and then at that point ... he deserves a chance to win a ballgame,'' said bench coach Mark Parent, who filled in as manager for the weekend while Robin Ventura attended his daughter's graduation. ''It's a team win or loss, but in this case the guy ... deserved a chance to win.''
Cabrera hit a high fly into the left-field seats off Sale to make it 2-1.
''It was just a two-seamer that didn't really do anything other than go a long way,'' Sale said.
It was Cabrera's third homer this season, and the Rays' first hit since Brandon Guyer led off the game with a single.
Tampa Bay has won 11 of 15 to move a season-high six-games over. 500.
Gordon Beckham, mired in an 0-for-21 slide, doubled off Nathan Karns and scored on Carlos Sanchez's single to put the White Sox up 1-0 in the second. They never scored again despite having runners in scoring position in each of the first six innings.
''(Sale) made one mistake after a tough at bat, a walk. That's a bad combination for any pitcher,'' said catcher Tyler Flowers. ''Other than that, he did a great job of getting ahead, challenging guys early, executing late. But it was a lot of the same; we just couldn't push enough runs across.''
Karns gave up one run, seven hits, one walk and struck out eight in six innings.
Sale worked out of two-on jams in the first and third, striking out Rays slugger Evan Longoria in both innings. He has struck out 10 or more in a franchise-best five consecutive starts.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (left oblique) played catch for the first time in a week. ... LHP Drew Smyly (left labrum tear) will play catch for the second time Monday. ... LHP Matt Moore (elbow surgery) will make his third rehab start Monday for Class A Charlotte.
White Sox: Rookie LHP Carlos Rodon (2-0) will face LHP Francisco Liriano (3-5) in Monday night's game at Pittsburgh. Chicago is 17-9 all-time against the Pirates, winning eight of the last nine meetings.