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Royals 2, White Sox 0: Chris Sale abandoned again

Condor becomes first Sox pitcher in 20 years to throw five consecutive eight-inning starts, but he still can’t win

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

Again, Chris Sale pitched brilliantly.

Again, it didn’t matter.

The Condor became the first White Sox pitcher in 20 years to throw five straight eight-inning starts. He also struck out 12 Royals over those eight innings.

Alas, he gave up solo shots to Kendrys Morales and Eric Hosmer, and that was enough for the Royals to take the series. Sale dropped to 1-6 over his last 11 starts, even though he has an ERA of 3.20 over that stretch. He has received six runs of support over his last four starts.

The offense just couldn’t figure out Ian Kennedy. Adam Eaton started the Sox offense with a single, and that was their only hit through the first eight innings. Eaton also had their only other hit, a single off Wade Davis to start the ninth. Melky Cabrera drew a walk two batters later to bring the winning run to the plate, with Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau getting their second chance in as many games to provide the late-game heroics against Kansas City's closer.

This time, Abreu lined out hard to right, but Morneau again struck out to end the game.

So another Sale gem went in vain. The Royals pestered him with their usual assortment of hits, but their non-homers didn’t amount to anything. He scattered six other hits, a walk and an HBP over his eight innings. Sale gave up hits to the leadoff batter in his final four innings, and while Hosmer’s was a solo shot in the sixth, the other three didn’t score.

His finest work came in the fifth. He gave up a single to Cheslor Cuthbert and plunked Alcides Escobar on the foot with a slider, but he came back to strike out Christian Colon, Whit Merrifield and Paulo Orlando to strand the runners.

Sale’s 12 strikeouts allowed him to cross the 200-strikeout mark for a third straight season, which is a franchise record. His eight innings allowed him to reach 200 innings for a second straight season and three out of four, and he matched 1996 Alex Fernandez with his fifth eight-inning outing in a row. He lowered his ERA to 3.03, improving his Cy Young credentials further.

It just didn’t result in a win, perhaps because Todd Frazier had their only two hard-hit balls over the first eight innings. Neither resulted in a hit, as Cuthbert took away extra bases in the second with a beautiful diving stab-and-throw, and the other ended up caught in center.

They had to rely on Kennedy’s control lapses to mount a threat, and one presented itself in the third. Alex Avila walked, Tyler Saladino walked, and, after Eaton was called out on a third strike off the plate, Tim Anderson walked to load the bases. Cabrera worked the count full, even though another pitch off the plate was called a strike, turning a 2-1 count into a 1-2 count. He swung at ball five, though, flying out harmlessly to right.

Record: 68-74 | Box score | Highlights