ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Sale struck out 12 on Sunday, giving him double-digit strikeouts for the fifth consecutive game. Unfortunately for the White Sox ace, Asdrubal Cabrera managed to connect for a two-run homer in the seventh to give the Rays (35-29) a 2-1 win over the White Sox (28-33) at Tropicana Field.
The win earned the Rays a sweep of the weekend series.
"We came in, we played some really good baseball," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "It's always nice to be able to get the first two then capitalize and get the third one."
"Sale did a tremendous job," said White Sox bench coach and interim manager Mark Parent. "We just need to pick it up offensively, that's for sure."
Sale cruised through the first six innings, holding the Rays scoreless on one hit and striking out 10. But he walked Steven Souza Jr. to start the seventh. Cabrera then homered to left on a 1-1 fastball to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.
"There's nothing better than when you do something to help the team to win," Cabrera said. "As soon as I hit it, I knew. It was awesome."
A group bullpen effort by C.J. Riefenhouser, Steve Geltz and Kevin Jepsen gave the Rays three scoreless innings to end the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trouble? What trouble?: The Rays' lone early scoring chance came in the third inning, when Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch and Joey Butler reached on a Gordon Beckham error with one out. Guyer swiped third and Butler moved up via a wild pitch, before Sale struck out Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe swinging to end the threat. The first two hitters reached in the opening frame but the Rays didn't score. More >
Karns rebounds: Karns rebounded well from his previous start -- Tuesday against the Angels -- when he allowed five runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Sunday, the right-hander gave up one run on seven hits in six innings en route to a no-decision and his fourth quality start of the season. More >
Wasted chances: The White Sox had at least one runner in scoring position in each of the six innings pitched by Karns. The only time they scored came via Sanchez's run-scoring single in the second. They finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
"Kind of this whole series it seemed like we hit the ball better than the results showed," White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. "I don't think they hit it quite as well as their results showed. They kind of found holes at the right times. We battled at the right times, we just couldn't get anything to fall in."
"Melky [Cabrera] hit a few, Alexei [Ramirez] hit a few and [Jose] Abreu [did too], but those things, they've got to change. Sooner or later it's got to change," Parent said. "We've got to start chasing each other around the bases. That's what people are doing to us. We need to do it to them."
Extra-base hit that counts: Cabrera entered Sunday's game with just one extra-base hit in his previous 18 games (15 were starts). But the Rays shortstop came up big when he connected on a 94-mph Sale fastball in the seventh for his third home run of the season.
"It was just a two-seamer that didn't really do anything other than go a long way," said Sale of the mistake pitch to Cabrera. More >
"The maturity of Sale from this year to last year is going through the roof, just on and off the field. It seems like he has really matured in my opinion to that next level, almost superstar-type guys. He knows that people depend on him, the team depends on him to come out each time there's a two-game losing streak to win a ballgame." -- Parent on his ace hurler
"That's as good a stuff as you're going to see in baseball. I mean, it's like [Chris] Archer left-handed." -- Cash, on Sale
RUNNING AT WILL
Opposing baserunners have been successful on 40 of 44 stolen base attempts against White Sox catchers this season.
White Sox:Carlos Rodon (2-0, 2.66 ERA) makes his 10th Major League appearance and seventh start during the opener of a two-game set on Monday at 6:05 p.m. CT in Pittsburgh. Five of the southpaw's last six starts have been quality and he stands at 1-0 with a 1.11 over his last four starts, including 23 strikeouts over 24 1/3 innings and 11 straight scoreless innings..
Rays:Erasmo Ramirez (5-2, 4.96) will start on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET against Washington and the right-hander has been on a roll, picking up five wins in his last six starts. He is 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 13 appearances (seven starts) since April 19. Prior to that stretch, he had a 25.31 ERA after his first two appearances.