Against Justin Verlander and with the White Sox offense in full tailspin, Chris Sale needed to be perfect.
Unfortunately, his two-strike slider to Delmon Young was only pretty good. And it was the same slider Young had swung over the top of a half-dozen times earlier in the game. He finally adjusted, golfing one over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.
Sale slammed his glove and hat upon returning to the dugout, and upended some buckets of gum, and his frustration was understandable. That one swing ruined what had been a good night of work, especially since he had to battle a tight strike zone from Adrian Johnson, who probably couldn't read his arm slot. Sale didn't get either corner for any pitch, which was a big reason for his four walks over six innings. The inning started with a single and a walk, but Sale came back with a nasty sequence to strike out Prince Fielder. He looked like he had Young set up, but Young upset him with the homer, and that was the ballgame.
The Sox could only make a game of it after Justin Verlander exited. Alejandro De Aza greeted him with a homer to lead off the game, and that was the only damage over the first eight innings. Verlander struck out 11, while allowing just four hits, two walks and one HBP, and he only got tougher as the game went on.
Jose Valverde gave the Sox a chance in the ninth. A.J. Pierzynski started a rally with a two-out single, and two singles later, the Sox cut the lead to 4-2 with runners on the corners. Robin Ventura made the unusual choice to let Orlando Hudson hit for himself -- he'd pinch-hit for Tyler Flowers with Dan Johnson for an RBI single -- but it's hard to say it's the wrong one. Hudson had a good swing, driving it to deep center. Austin Jackson just happens to be a very good center fielder, and he ran it down for the final out.
- With an 0-for-3 night, Kevin Youkilis is 5-for-48 against Detroit this year.
- Paul Konerko committed an unusual error by letting a Jackson squibber roll as long as possible for it to be fair ... except he let it hit the base and ramp over his glove for a free baserunner. Sale rebounded by picking off Jackson and starting a one-throw rundown.
- Alejandro De Aza bunted a curveball foul. That was the only bunt the White Sox tried. In the ninth inning, Miguel Cabrera tried leaping for an Alexei Ramirez line drive and couldn't come up with it, and was visibly uncomfortable afterward. Maybe the Sox should have tried making him move...