Short of perfect, White Sox happy with trip

Seven-game winning streak ends with Sale's rough outing

Short of perfect, White Sox happy with trip

BOSTON -- For one breath-holding moment in the first inning of Boston's 8-2 victory over the White Sox Thursday night at Fenway Park, the South Siders' seven-game winning streak didn't really matter.

Not when Chris Sale, the White Sox ace and one of the best starters in the game, got hit flush with a Xander Bogaerts line drive off the outside of his left leg. Without Sale, any additions made by general manager Rick Hahn prior to Friday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline wouldn't have the same meaning.

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In fact, without Sale, the White Sox growing but still far from certain playoff hopes would be far less hopeful. Sale stayed in the game after throwing a few warmups for head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and manager Robin Ventura, and then he got hit again.

Eleven more hits, to be exact, over just five-plus innings. The White Sox (49-51) did not complete their perfect 8-0 road trip, they did not reach .500 and they did not win a game pitting Sale against knuckleballer Steven Wright that looked to be a major White Sox advantage on paper.

It was just one of those nights, after seven really good ones.

"We have been playing great. We have 24 guys in here that didn't deserve tonight. I should have been better for them," said Sale, who allowed seven runs on 12 hits, while striking out seven and hitting two. The 12 hits allowed stood as a career high.

"At least we know the reason why we lost this game," Sale added. "We need to keep our heads up. We've been playing great, swinging the bats well. Like I said, we had 24 guys in here that need to keep their chins up."

Sale didn't have his best of nights, but there have been plenty of times where he bailed out a struggling White Sox offense. As leaders usually do, though, Sale put the onus of the streak-breaking setback on his shoulders.

"You've got to respect that he thinks that way and puts it on his shoulders, but shoot, this was a great road trip," White Sox designated hitter Adam LaRoche said. "They obviously came out with a little chip on their shoulders today."

"This one is going to be forgotten before I even walk out of that door tonight," Sale said. "It was so bad that you just throw it into the garbage really. You move on and I'll be ready next time."

Most important for Sale was that the first-inning line drive did no structural damage and didn't require X-rays or an MRI. It caught mostly muscle and didn't really affect him the rest of the night.

But when David Ortiz gets three hits and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt deliver two-strike hits, all of them being left-handed hitters, it's clear that eighth straight victory just wasn't meant to be. Seven still works for this surging group.

"They'll look at that more than they will tonight when they come in tomorrow," said Ventura of the seven wins. "We wanted to win all eight, but that's the way it goes. You want us to swing the bats and we did that on this road trip."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.