Leave it to the White Sox to make Chris Sale's pursuit of the franchise's single-season strikeout record as joyless as everything else this season.
The Condor struck out nine over seven innings to raise his total to 259, just 10 short of Ed Walsh's 106-year-old record. For that matter, Sale lowered his ERA from 3.55 to 3.47.
Neither of them are feel-good stories, though, since he allowed six unearned runs in the third inning, capped off by a Carlos Santana grand slam.
Sale should've been out of the third inning on seven pitches when he got Jose Ramirez to hit a grounder right at Carlos Sanchez with a runner on first and one out. But instead of starting a 4-6-3 double play, Sanchez let the ball sneak through his wickets to put runners on first and second with just one out.
Sale recorded a fourth out with little issue, striking out Francisco Lindor on three pitches. However, he needed six chances to record the third out. Mike Aviles tormented Sanchez some more by dropping a bloop single off his glove in shallow center field for one run. Michael Brantley sliced a single to left for another run, and after a Ryan Raburn walk, Carlos Santana turned on an 0-1 two-seamer and hit a no-doubter to left for the game-breaking grand slam and a 6-0 lead.
Sale's six unearned runs was the highest total allowed by a White Sox pitcher since Jose Contreras on Aug. 24, 2009. Sale eventually allowed an earned run, as Lindor touched him for a solo shot in the seventh inning that didn't matter.
Adding to the frustration, Sale should've had some kind of lead to work with, as the White Sox repeatedly threatened against Cody Anderson, only to come up empty time and time again.
- First inning: Wasted an Adam Eaton leadoff walk.
- Second inning: Wasted a Trayce Thompson leadoff double, even after Aviles extended the inning with an error for them.
- Third inning: Wasted runners on first and second and nobody out.
- Fourth inning: Wasted a leadoff walk, and two walks to the first three batters.
Melky Cabrera eventually put the Sox on the board with a solo homer in the fifth inning, but that didn't affect the White Sox' numbers in the clutch. They went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base, and Tyler Flowers wore the worst of it (0-for-4, six stranded).
Speaking of wearing it, Daniel Webb's miseries continued. I'm sure Robin Ventura wanted Webb to be the only reliever used tonight, but he allowed four of the five batters he faced to reach, and four of those runners scored. Dan Jennings ended up recording the final two outs, but not before allowing all three of the inherited runners to score, as well as one of his own.
The line from Webb's last two outings: 0.2 IP, 6 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 0 K. His ERA has risen from 2.67 to 5.20 as a result.