White Sox drop eighth straight even after Chris Sale flirts with perfecto

SHARE White Sox drop eighth straight even after Chris Sale flirts with perfecto

Not even a historic night from Chris Sale could save the White Sox from an eighth consecutive loss.

The left-hander continued his streak of stunning starts, flirting with perfection and throwing eight shutout innings. But closer David Robertson couldn’t protect a one-run lead in the ninth, and the Rangers beat the Sox, 2-1, at U.S. Cellular Field.

“It’s tough,” Sale said afterward. “But, I mean, you can almost guarantee that’s not gonna happen too many times with him on the mound. He’s one of the best in the game, for sure. No doubt.”

Sale retired the first 17 batters he faced. He struck out a season-high 14, walked none and allowed just two base hits.

With Tyler Flowers’ solo homer representing the lone run of the game, Robertson came on in the ninth to protect a 1-0 lead. He walked Shin-Soo Choo, gave up a single to Elvis Andrus, threw a wild pitch and intentionally walked Prince Fielder.

That set the stage for Mitch Moreland’s two-out, pinch-hit single to right field, scoring a pair and dooming the Sox to their longest losing streak since 2013.

Sale has not earned a win in either of his last two starts despite allowing just a combined two runs.

He got fired up when asked about the lack of run support after the game.

“That’s kind of a crappy question to ask, really,” Sale said. “You think I’m gonna say something bad about one of my teammates, you’re dead wrong. We have a bunch of fighters in here. We have guys that come in here every single day and play as hard as they can, plain and simple.

“Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight it didn’t, and it hasn’t for a few games. But that doesn’t mean that we’re doing anything different or going to point a finger at anybody.”

Sale joined Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to strike out 12 or more in five consecutive starts. He is also the first since Johnson in 2002 to strike out 10 or more in six straight starts.

Sale didn’t allow a baserunner until his 87th pitch, a bloop single up the middle in the sixth inning by nine-hole hitter Hanser Alberto.

Sale struck out every Rangers hitter at least once, and he struck out two – Leonys Martin and Joey Gallo – three times each.

He said he lobbied to stay in the game at 111 pitches but understood the decision to go with Robertson, the Sox’ $46 million closer.

Sale has thrown 45 1/3 innings over his last six starts and owns a 1.19 ERA to go along with his 75 strikeouts. He’s struck out at least one batter in 35 consecutive innings going back five starts.

“Sale is as good as anybody in the league,” manager Robin Ventura said, “and probably anybody that has ever pitched when you start seeing the names he’s getting mentioned with.”

But the effort, as noteworthy as it was, came in yet another losing effort for the Sox.

“It’s frustrating,” a contrite Robertson said. I feel awful because with how well Sale pitched tonight and I went out there and blew it. I’m supposed to pick the guys up right there. That’s what I’m here for, and I couldn’t nail it down.”

Notes:

–The Stanley Cup will be at U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday for a pre-game ceremony to celebrate the Blackhawks’ third championship in six seasons. Select players will be in attendance but have not been announced.

–Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis has won six consecutive starts over the Sox

email: djust@suntimes.com

Twitter: DavidJustCST

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