Sale loses to Twins for 3rd time, White Sox beaten 6-1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chris Sale keeps striking out hitters at a historic rate. That hasn’t made the Chicago White Sox any better at bat or in the field.
Phil Hughes pitched eight strong innings and the Minnesota Twins beat Sale for the third time this season, overcoming 10 more strikeouts by the three-time All-Star in a 6-1 victory against the White Sox on Wednesday.
Sale (6-4) became the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2001 to strike out at least 10 batters in seven consecutive games. The lanky left-hander was trying to become the first hurler in modern major league history with at least 12 strikeouts in six straight starts.
“It’s cool, but it’d be a lot better if we were winning more games, for sure,” Sale said.
Sale’s streak of innings with at least one strikeout was stopped at 38 when Minnesota hit three doubles in a three-run fourth to give Hughes (6-6) the lead for good.
Sale is 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA in four turns against the Twins this season. Against everyone else in the majors, he is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 10 starts.
“They just do a good job of staying with it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Once they had guys on first and third, it opened up for them.”
Sale allowed eight hits, one walk and six runs (five earned) in 6 2-3 innings. He left during a three-run seventh amid another stretch of sloppiness in the field by the last-place White Sox, who were charged with three errors.
“Those errors don’t help your pitcher, especially if you’re not scoring,” Ventura said. “It has to be better.”
Sale hadn’t given up that many runs in 10 starts since April 30 against the Twins.
“I’ve got one job to do, and that’s get as far into a game and give up as little as I can. I didn’t quite do that today,” Sale said.
Chicago has scored only three runs in Sale’s last three starts, all losses.
“We’ll be fine,” Sale said when asked if he felt as though he had to be outstanding every start given the hitting struggles.
Entering the game, Chicago ranked last in the AL in runs, homers and slugging percentage, and second-to-last in batting average and on-base percentage.
“If you feel like you give up more than two you’re going to get beat, it’s tough to pitch like that. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement on offense,” Ventura said.
Adam LaRoche, who had three hits, homered to start the second. It appeared that might be enough for the White Sox as Sale opened with six strikeouts over the first three innings.
But Hughes settled in smoothly to win with eight innings and one run allowed for the second straight time. He gave up six hits and struck out five without a walk.
Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki and Shane Robinson each had two hits for the Twins, who are 9-4 against the White Sox this year while outscoring them 78-35.
Sale’s strikeout/innings streak was the longest since Johan Santana struck out at least one batter over 39 straight innings in 2002 for the Twins. Only Pedro Martinez (1999) and Johnson (1998) had whiffed at least 12 over five straight starts since 1914, according to STATS research.
White Sox: Ventura said recently he didn’t think Alexei Ramirez, who has started all but two games at SS, was worn down. But Ramirez made his ninth error of the season and went 0 for 4 to drop his batting average to .220.
The White Sox play Detroit on Thursday in a rare series-opening afternoon start, with Carlos Rodon (3-1, 3.75 ERA) pitching against Tigers RHP Alfredo Simon (7-4, 3.29 ERA) to begin a four-game set.