Friday’s result: Astros 2, Sox 1
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org June 14, 2013 10:02PM
Chicago White Sox's Chris Sale delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the third inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Updated: June 14, 2013 11:00PM
HOUSTON -- Chris Sale pitched another gem. But the White Sox produced another offensive dud.
Sale (5-5) struck 14, gave up five hits, and did not allow an earned run on Friday night, but the Astros cobbled together two runs in the fifth inning with the help of two Sox errors to escape with a 2-1 victory.
The Sox (28-26) opened a 10-game road trip against the lowly Astros (24-44) by losing their second straight game after a putting together three straight wins. The Astros are 14-14 over their last 28 games.
“It’s tough,’’ said Sale, who lowered his ERA to 2.43 with the third complete game of his career, the first for a loss. “Any time you let one slip away, especially to start a trip, it’s tough. But hopefully we collectively as a group feed off of this and turn it around for the rest of this trip.”
Shortstop Alexei Ramirez was charged with two errors in the fifth, one on a bad throw to second base that allowed Ronny Cedeno to score the tying run. Cedeno had reached on a slow roller to Ramirez that the Ramirez couldn’t come up with cleanly. Jose Altuve’s RBI infield single broke the tie. Third baseman Jeff Keppinger dove to his left to stab Altuve’s hard grounder but couldn’t get up quickly enough to make a good throw. The throw was high and Altuve was safe.
“Those are ones we need to make,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “They were kind of little one way or the other as far as that one and with Kepp. But that’s baseball. You’ve got to make it.’’
Sale came within a strikeout of matching his career high set last season against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. He struck out the first batter he faced and the last over his 124-pitch outing.
Sale, 24, took the high road and refused to point fingers at an offense that was 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position or at Ramirez, who has been less than rock-solid this season.
“He takes a lot of pride in what he does,’’ Sale said of the Sox shortstop. “I don’t think that’s a secret to anybody. He’s one of the best. Stuff like that happens. If he was a robot, and that happens, hey, something’s wrong. But you can’t expect perfection out of everybody all the time.’’
The Sox have made 44 errors in 64 games. Ramirez, who has made great plays but is susceptible to booting the easy ones, has 10 errors.
“I went over there and gave him a tap on the shoulder and told him, ‘Hey, you’re still the best. Stuff happens,’ ‘’ Sale said. “Derek Jeter makes errors. Things happen to great players sometimes, and it just happens.”
With two extra days rest because of Wednesday’s rainout and Thursday’s off day, Ventura let Sale pitch the eighth. His fastball was mid-90s crisp.
“He had extra time and he was feeling fine,’’ Ventura said. “He deserved an extra chance to win that game.’’
The 14 strikeouts tied a Minute Maid Park record shared by Yu Darvish, Bud Norris and Tommy Hanson. Darvish and Anibal Sanchez are the only other pitchers to strike out at least 14 this season.
Adam Dunn drove in the Sox run with a sacrifice fly against Erik Bedard (2-3), scoring Paul Konerko in the fourth. Konerko doubled, singled and reached on a walk.
The Sox have lost 10 of their last 11 road games and have been outscored 62-34 in those games.