Sale strong as fading White Sox fall 5-3 to Tigers in 11th
CHICAGO (AP) — Chris Sale isn’t enjoying the stretch run despite once again being one of baseball’s top pitchers.
“It’s hard to look at stuff like that when we’ve been going through what we’ve been going through,” the White Sox left-hander said. “I don’t really get too far into personal stats. Somebody’s got really bad stats on a World Series winning team, I’ll trade with him.”
Justin Upton hit a three-run home run in the 11th inning to lift the Detroit Tigers to 5-3 victory on Monday and their 11th win in 14 games. Chicago has dropped six of eight and matched a season-low at seven games under .500.
Miguel Cabrera homered twice and had four hits off Sale, and Justin Verlander struck out 11 in seven innings as the Tigers stayed tied with Baltimore for the second AL wild card.
Chris Beck (1-1) issued consecutive two-out walks to Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez before Upton crushed a 1-2 fastball to right for his 21st home run. It was his second game-winning homer in two days after connecting in the eighth inning Sunday against Kansas City.
“That’s what you live for, man,” Upton said. “That’s what you play the game for, the big moment when you can help your team out. I’ve just happened to come through the last couple days.”
Cabrera became the fourth player to reach 300 homers with the Tigers with a liner to right in the first. He secured his fifth multihomer game of the season with a drive to left-center in the third, his 31st of the season.
Cabrera also singled and doubled for his sixth four-hit game of the season. He had all but two of the hits allowed by Sale, who struck out eight and walked none in eight innings.
“He’s still one of the best hitters on the planet,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s probably one of the most elite right-hand hitters in the history of the game. He continues to hit. He’s got a tremendous, mechanically-sound swing and he’s extremely strong.”
Alex Wilson (2-0) gave up one hit in the 10th and Francisco Rodriguez gave up a run in the 11th before securing his 39th save. He moved past John Franco for fourth on the career saves list with 425.
Verlander allowed eight hits and saw his chance for a 15th win dashed when former Tigers catcher Alex Avila tied it with a solo homer in the seventh.
It marked the second Verlander-Sale matchup in a week. Neither ace factored in the decision in Detroit’s 3-2 win Wednesday, either. The White Sox again failed to support Sale and fell to 2-8 in his last 10 starts.
Chicago also is likely headed to its fourth straight losing season.
“I can tell you top to bottom no one’s happy with it,” Sale said. “It falls on us mostly. You just have to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘What do we have to do to change it?’”
White Sox: Manager Robin Ventura said shutting down struggling RHP James Shields (back) is possible. Shields has allowed a major league high-tying 35 homers.
Cabrera joined Al Kaline (399), Norm Cash (373) and Hank Greenberg (306) in Detroit’s 300-homer club.
Verlander’s first-inning strikeout of Melky Cabrera gave him 200 in a season for the sixth time in his career and the first time since 2013.
White Sox RHP Miguel Gonzalez (2-6, 4.05 ERA) returns from a groin injury Tuesday night to make his first start since Aug. 11. LHP Matt Boyd (5-2, 4.00) will be recalled from Triple-A to start for the Tigers.