Winning games is difficult work for the White Sox this year, but a three-run lead with five outs to go and Chris Sale on the mound is as close to comfortable as most games will get.
The Yankees rallied from a 4-1 deficit with a five-run eighth inning off four different White Sox pitchers. Mariano Rivera struck retired the side in order to seal yet another Sox loss. They're now 0-5 on the road trip, and that was the last Sale start of the swing.
Sale started the eighth inning with 102 pitches and struck out Brett Gardner to start the frame. But Derek Jeter followed up with a single, and Robin Cano lined a fastball (after not seeing two sliders well) off the wall in left for a double to end Sale's night.
Nate Jones inherited runners on third, and they both scored when Alfonso Soriano took an 0-2 slider -- the third straight breaking ball he saw -- to center for a two-run single. Alex Rodriguez went the same way to put runners on the corners, and Robin Ventura called for Donnie Veal.
Veal fell behind 3-1 on Curtis Granderson, who then took the fastball to (wait for it) center field to tie the game at 4. Veal rebounded to strike out Mark Reynolds, which meant he retired one more batter than Jones. But when Eduardo Nunez came to the plate, Ventura called for Matt Lindstrom. That made no difference, because Nunez dug out a sinker and rifled it into the left field corner to drive in both runs and cap off the rally.
Until that point, it looked like Sale might climb to 11-12 on the season. He pitched beautifully through seven, allowing just one unearned run and withstanding incompetence from his teammates in the two other facets of the game.
The only other run Sale allowed was unearned. He took the mound in the second with a 1-0 lead (that could've been more had Avisail Garcia and Conor Gillaspie not struck out with the bases loaded in the first). With one out, he gave up an infield single to Vernon Wells when Gordon Beckham couldn't come up with a bouncer up the middle.
It would've been a tough play even if Beckham gloved it, so that part's not his fault. However, the ball clanked off his glove and into shallow left field, and then he fell down while approaching the ball and kicked it even farther away, which allowed Wells to take second.
Sale struck out Reynolds, and then appeared to get out of the inning when Nunez hit a chopper to third. Gillaspie fumbled the exchange from glove to hand and couldn't recover for a throw to extend the inning.
Then the Yankees took advantage of the White Sox's lack of awareness. Nunez took off for second, and Josh Phegley made the throw to second with Beckham charging to anticipate the throw home. But Phegley's throw was low, which cost Beckham a smooth transfer, and Beckham's throw home was wide, which cost Phegley a chance at a tag. Wells stole home and tied the game at 1.
But the White Sox recovered to take a 3-1 lead in the fifth on an Alexei Ramirez two-run triple. Ramirez stood on third with nobody out, but he couldn't score, because Adam Dunn tapped out, and Paul Konerko hit a weak liner to short. Ramirez broke home before doubling back, but it was too late to avoid getting doubled off.
Alejandro De Aza got that run back in the seventh with a solo homer off Hiroki Kuroda that ended his night. He went deep to right field after just missing the foul pole in that direction earlier in the at-bat, and that was the last neat thing that happened to the Sox all night.