The home run bug hit Chris Sale and the White Sox hard on Monday afternoon.
Ryan Raburn homered twice and Mike Aviles blasted another as the Cleveland Indians topped the White Sox 3-2 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Sale struck out eight, but yielded three solo homers in seven innings and the White Sox had their four-game win streak snapped as Trevor Bauer corrected himself after a rough start. The White Sox scored twice in the second inning and then had 22 of their last 26 batters retired.
“I think all of us are frustrated,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “It’s just been a tough year on a lot of things, offense for a lot of us, and myself definitely included in that. You can’t change anything. You just keep working hard. We’re running out of time to say that hopefully it turns, but just keep working hard.”
Despite not having his best stuff, Sale had a no-hitter in progress until Aviles homered to lead off the fourth inning to cut the White Sox lead to 2-1. One batter later, Raburn tied it with a solo homer to right center.
Raburn followed that with a monster blast to left with one out in the sixth inning to put Cleveland ahead for good 3-2. The two homers gives Raburn four against Sale and 20 against the White Sox out of the 81 he has hit in his career. Four of Raburn’s eight multi-homer games have come against the White Sox.
Sale also yielded a lot of other hard contact but allowed only the three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out eight, which gives him 247 this season with possibly five starts left.
It’s the first time Sale has allowed three homers in a game since Sept. 15, 2013 against Cleveland. White Sox starter Erik Johnson also gave up three solo homers in Sunday’s victory.
“Today was my day to pick em up and I didn’t,” Sale said. “I need to be that guy to be able to pick up my team, because they’ve picked me up my last time out. The only two losses we’ve had in the last week were on my day, so I’ve got to do something to change that and come out fighting next time.”
The White Sox offense started quickly — well, actually Bauer started slowly. Bauer walked five of the first 10 batters he faced, including three straight on 12 pitches to start the second inning. The White Sox took advantage of Bauer’s wild streak as Carlos Sanchez had an RBI fielder’s choice and Tyler Flowers had a sac fly as they took a 2-0 lead.
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But Bauer buckled down and allowed only three base runners over his final five innings, retiring 16 of the last 19 he faced. Bauer allowed two earned runs and two hits with five walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.
Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen each posted scoreless innings to close out the game.
“At that point, he's almost trying to give it to you,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We didn't get anything out of it. We got two hits, Avi got two hits off him. Apparently, he was doing something good besides the wildness. But he was attempting to give it to you and we couldn't do anything with it.
“It's hot and cold. It was right there for the taking.”