In his first loss, Sale shoulders all the blame

White Sox ace calls 6-run outing 'embarrassing'

In his first loss, Sale shoulders all the blame

CHICAGO -- There wasn't much gray area to interpret in regard to Chris Sale's feelings concerning his performance during the White Sox 6-2 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, ending Sale's streak of nine straight wins to start the season.

"I stunk. I was bad. I was terrible. Embarrassing, quite honestly," said Sale, after allowing six runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 1/3 innings and 89 pitches. "It's tough to go out and go 3 1/3. You leave your team in a tough position, especially after a doubleheader.

"That's what gets me the most. We played two [Monday]. I had to be big for the guys tonight and was the exact opposite.

"We didn't lose. I lost this game," Sale said after his shortest outing since Sept. 13, 2015, against the Twins, in which he allowed six runs. "Tonight was on me, 100 percent. No doubt. No way around it. I stunk. I was bad."

Rogers: Sale will bounce back from 1st loss

Sale always has been his own toughest critic, and while he clearly was overly harsh in breaking down the only non-quality start out of 10 this season, it was not his best night. In a strange twist, Sale might have been victimized by having too much stuff.

In the first, Sale threw eight pitches at 95 mph or above and topped out at 97. That sort of velocity seemingly works against his overall 2016 credo of not going full bore on all his pitches.

"He was up there velocity-wise. That's uncharacteristic for him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Just seemed like everything seemed a little harder than normal. Changeup probably was a little harder than it has been in the past. I think that separation wasn't as good tonight."

Ventura on Sale's first loss

"Really, I think maybe you guys jinxed him," said White Sox catcher Alex Avila with a smile. "He's 9-1 now, so he's still pretty good."

Cleveland worked Sale for a 43-pitch third, with key at-bats from Jose Ramirez (10 pitches), Carlos Santana (seven) and Juan Uribe (nine). The Indians struck out seven times, but also fouled off 25 pitches in keeping at-bats alive.

After Sale's 10-game winning streak dating back to last season came to an end, the ace studied a little bit of his work via video. He explained it was more about getting a feel for what went wrong and nothing more.

Sale on first loss of the year

"Just trying to get a feel for where I was at in my mechanics and all that, seeing what was going on," Sale said. "I saw some stuff and build on that and learn and move forward."

One rough outing doesn't erase a historic run from Sale, which included three complete games and becoming one of three pitchers since 1913 (Eddie Cicotte and Sal Maglie) to win his first nine starts with an ERA of 1.58 or lower. But Sale obviously was not in the mood for celebrating.

"Past doesn't matter. It's about right now, today," Sale said. "You can't go out there --- nine wins didn't get me anything tonight. So why am I going to look for that? I've just got to be better."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.