Slumping Sox fall to Rays, two games out of first
Manager Robin Ventura offered a blunt assessment of his team's play Saturday in one of the most important games of the season.
The White Sox managed just four hits and ace Chris Sale didn't get out of the fourth inning as the Tampa Bay Rays rolled to a 10-4 victory. With Detroit beating Minnesota, Chicago trails the Tigers by two games in the AL Central with four to play.
Sale (17-8), who has pitched 192 innings in his first year as a starter, lasted just 3 1-3 innings, his shortest start of the season. He gave up seven hits and was charged with five runs while walking three and striking out seven.
"When he doesn't locate, I think that was the biggest thing for him today. He was just not in the zone enough. It was just one of those, you don't expect that out of him but it is late in the year and stuff can happen," Ventura said.
"Other than that, we stunk."
Sale said fatigue was not a factor whatsoever.
"No chance. I felt just as good as any time out," Sale said. "I felt strong, just was all over the place. Just didn't throw strikes. Walked a lot of guys. Gave up hits at the wrong times and they capitalized on my mistakes. I just didn't do anything to help myself or help the team.
Sale took the blame for the loss, despite the team's offensive woes that have been weighing the White Sox down in the stretch. They've lost 9 of 11.
"That was terrible. That was a disgrace," Sale said of his performance after he was outpitched by Tampa Bay's Matt Moore.
"To go out and have your starter go three innings, that's a recipe for a disaster pretty much every time," Sale said. "Just didn't do my job. Team needed me and I didn't pull it out for them. Just a frustrating day."
Sale beat Moore 2-1 at Tropicana Field on May 28 when he struck out 15 to Moore's 10, but this time he wasn't sharp from the outset, struggling with his control.
Tampa Bay, which has won 9 of 10, is three games out for the second wild card spot with four to play and has ace David Price going for his 20th win Sunday.
"We have to believe we're going to get the help while we take care of our own business. We're 1-0 on Saturday, let's go 1-0 on Sunday," manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm like the biggest scoreboard watcher, but at the end of the day I can't worry about that."
For the White Sox, it's just as difficult.
"We have to win every game and hope Detroit loses a couple," said Chicago's Alex Rios, who had two of the White Sox's four hits allowed Saturday by Moore and two relievers. "That's what has to happen."
Moore allowed one hit in 5 1-3 shutout innings, Matt Joyce came off the bench to homer twice and Jeff Keppinger and Chris Gimenez also went deep.
After Sunday, the Rays go home for three against Baltimore and the White Sox head to Cleveland. Detroit goes to Kansas City, while Oakland has three at home against the AL West leading Rangers.
"If we win out, we're hoping the way their (A's) schedule is -- a chip and a chair kind of thing --that's all we need," Gimenez said.
With the White Sox trailing 10-0 in the eighth, pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson hit a grand slam off reliever Chris Archer -- Chicago's fourth hit all day.
NOTES: Moore's fourth strikeout of the game in the fifth was his 175th of the season, setting the Rays' rookie record. Scott Kazmir had 174 in 2005. ... White Sox leadoff hitter Alejandro De Aza was scratched from the lineup with flu-like symptoms and replaced by Dewayne Wise. ... Price (19-5), who could become the first 20-game winner in Tampa Bay history, will be opposed by Chicago's Jose Quintana (6-5) on Sunday.