ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Even on the night he was selected to the American League All-Star team, Chris Sale’s run of tough luck continued Saturday.
The White Sox’s left-hander lost, 3-0, to the Tampa Bay Rays, his sixth straight loss during a seven-start stretch in which he has been supported by only nine runs.
“I know that this is part of the game,” said Sale, who gave up two earned runs while striking out nine in seven innings.
“This isn’t the first time this has ever happened, and we’ll have to turn it around and get it right.”
Matt Moore won his fourth consecutive start for the Rays, who have won seven of eight. Moore (12-3) gave up five hits, two walks and struck out six over 61/3 innings.
Fernando Rodney, the third Tampa Bay reliever, pitched the ninth for his 19th save, completing the six-hitter.
Sale (5-8) gave up six hits and a walk for the Sox, who have lost eight of 10.
Despite giving up just 20 runs – 17 earned – over 491/3 innings since the end of May for a 3.10 ERA, Sale is 0-6 in those seven starts.
Luke Scott’s RBI double in the second inning marked the first extra-base hit by a left-handed hitter off Sale this season.
“You can’t expect him to blank everybody,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s pitching fine, competing and doing all the things you want him to do. It’s just when you don’t get any runs, it seems like it’s wasted. We need to put some points on the board.”
The Sox wasted Jeff Keppinger’s leadoff double in the second inning and squandered another opportunity in the third after getting their first two men on base. Adam Dunn’s opposite-field blast off Joel Peralta with a man on was caught at the warning track in the eighth.
“Those are six games we should have won,” Dunn said of Sale’s losing streak. “When he holds a team each and every time he goes out there and we don’t score any runs for him, I look at that as six games, or at least four or five, that we should have won.”
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead in the second on Scott’s double and Desmond Jennings’ had run-scoring grounder.
Wil Myers opened the sixth with an infield single, a liner that went off Sale’s glove, and advanced two bases on a nifty base running play when Jose Lobaton hit a one-out grounder that third baseman Conor Gillaspie had to move toward second to field. The Rays rookie then scored to make it 3-0 on a single by Sam Fuld.
On “Turn Back the Clock Night,” the Rays wore hypothetical uniforms from 1979, while the White Sox used 1972 replica home uniforms.
“It definitely reeks of the mid-1970’s, and I like that,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “I think they’re very tasty.”
Injured White Sox reliever Jesse Crain was also selected to the AL All-Star team with Sale before the game. Tampa Bay’s lone selection was infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist.
NOTES: Tampa Bay LHP David Price (2-4) will make his second start Sunday since returning from a strained left triceps. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, who allowed three hits over seven innings in an 8-0 win over Houston Tuesday, will face Chicago LHP John Danks (2-5). ... White Sox RHP Jake Peavy, on the DL since June 6 with a broken left rib, is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game on Tuesday. ... Maddon decided to keep left-handed hitting 1B James Loney, who has a career-high 16-game hitting streak, out of the lineup against Sale. Loney entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth. ... Chicago OF Dewayne Wise (strained right oblique) is set to start a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.