Chris Sale put together his best outing in more than a month — and one of his best of the season — Wednesday night in Detroit, but the White Sox offense couldn’t back their ace, and one mistake cost him in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers.
Sale was mostly dominant in recording his first double-digit strikeout performance of the season, putting away a number of hitters with high fastballs and nasty, wipeout sliders. He struck out 10 in a complete-game effort, walked one and allowed just two earned runs, but in the eighth inning, a 94-mph fastball center-cut to J.D. Martinez — the first pitch Martinez saw since June 16 after being activated from the disabled list — was deposited into the stands for the deciding run of the game.
The White Sox offense couldn’t provide support, offering only a Justin Morneau solo home run to back Sale. It was Morneau’s third home run with the Sox, with two of them coming off Detroit rookie Michael Fulmer, who was backed by both his defense and the BABIP Gods in allowing just the one earned run in 6.2 inning.
The White Sox got the leadoff man on base in the first, second and fourth innings, only to have him erased by a double play on each occasion. Fulmer left in the seventh after giving up the homer and following that up with a walk to Todd Frazier and hitting Avisail Garcia twice (the first was ruled to have hit the bat and was upheld on challenge). Shane Greene entered with two outs and struck out Dioner Navarro to end the threat.
The Sox, again, threatened in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez when Melky Cabrera led off with an infield single thanks to a lazy throw by defensive replacement Andrew Romine at third base, and Jose Abreu walked. But after a Morneau sacrifice fly advanced Cabrera to third with one out, Frazier struck out, Garcia walked to load the bases and Navarro grounded out to end another threat and another loss.
Sale’s only other blemish came in the fourth inning when Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos sandwiched doubles around a Victor Martinez walk. He escaped further damage when Mike Aviles fouled out to Abreu, who threw out Martinez trying to tag at home. Also noteworthy was the fact that Martinez — who destroyed Sale to the tune of a 18-for-36 with four homers in their careers entering the night — was held hitless.
Team record: 51-56
Next game: 12:10 p.m. CT Thursday against Detroit on CSN-Chicago
Lead Image Credit: Rick Osentoski // USA Today Sports Images