It was a similar story for the White Sox against the Detroit Tigers on Labor Day and it had the same ending.
Chris Sale pitched great again but the White Sox didn’t have the offense to support him in their 5-3 loss to the Tigers in 11 innings on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field in front of 18,653 fans.
Tigers outfielder Justin Upton hit the game-winning three-run homer off White Sox reliever Chris Beck in the 11th. The White Sox are now 65-72 on the year with 25 games left and have dropped their last four games against the Tigers.
In eight innings, Sale allowed two earned runs and two solo homers on eight hits while fanning eight batters. He lowered his season ERA to 3.07 and has 193 strikeouts, seven shy of a fourth straight season with 200+ strikeouts.
"I felt good today," Sale said. "Like I always say, I get out there and try to find a groove and roll with it. I credit Alex on that one. Had a good tempo, good pace and he knows those guys better than anybody. Going into a game like this you're confident with what you're doing."
Miguel Cabrera got the best of the White Sox ace, who recorded a no decision.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Cabrera opened the scoring with two solo homers in the first and third inning to put the Tigers up 2-0. It was career home runs No. 300 and 301 for Cabrera in a Tigers uniform. He capped off the day going 4-of-5, adding two singles.
Sale said that the Tigers slugger is "one of the best" hitters he's ever faced.
"You can't deny that," Sale said. "Look on the back of that card and there's pretty awesome numbers. It was back and forth. I enjoy that. I enjoy the competition. I know next time he's going to try to do the same thing and I'm going to be be trying to get after him. Would I rather not given up two home runs and all that stuff? Yeah, no doubt. But it makes for good competition."
The White Sox cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third from an RBI single by Tyler Saladino. Saladino is batting .286 with five doubles, two homers and 11 RBI in his last 18 games.
Justin Verlander had it going on right from the get-go, striking out five of the first seven White Sox batters. The Tigers starter finished the day with 11 strikeouts, tying his season high, in seven innings on eight hits. He had nine strikeouts in last week’s contest against the White Sox in Detroit.
In the seventh, Alex Avila led off the inning with a solo shot to left-center field, which knotted the game at 2. Two of Avila’s six homers this season has come against the Tigers.
"I wasn’t trying to hit a home run," Avila said. "(Verlander) just missed his location. He was trying to go away and it was more middle. With him he’s so tough because this year with as hard as he’s been throwing he’s been able to live at the top of the zone with the fastball. It’s kind of riding on you and it’s tough to gauge which one is a strike or not. A lot of times it depends on the umpire. Depending on the umpire you can have a tough day out there, plus with a three o’clock game you can’t see for six innings.
"With him you have to make sure he is down and when you get it down in the zone don’t miss it."
Nate Jones relieved Sale in the ninth and pitched a no-hit scoreless inning with three strikeouts. David Robertson also threw a scoreless tenth with a strikeout and no hits.
The damage happened in the 11th, where Beck was roughed up. Upton’s three-run homer sealed the win for the Tigers.
"I think (Beck) got the ground ball double play and then he was just probably being real careful with the next two guys," Ventura said. "Those guys have done some damage in the past and I think at that point it just seemed like he was being real careful. Then Upton gets him with the big one that really wins it for them."
Beck suffered his first loss since his major-league debut on May 28, 2015 in Baltimore.
Avisail Garcia, who went 3-for-5, tacked on a run with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Monday was Garcia's 23rd multi-hit game of the season and fourth three-plus hit game. He is also batting .327 with four home runs and nine RBI in his last 15 games against the Tigers.
The White Sox are 5-12 against the Tigers this season and have been outscored 97-70.