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Chris Sale victim of non-support again as Sox fall to Royals 1-0

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox

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Updated: August 30, 2013 6:49AM

Success and experience have made right-hander Jake Peavy a natural leader in the White Sox’ clubhouse. If he is gone by the non-waiver trade deadline Wednesday — and signs Saturday were pointing more to it — the Sox will have more than his rotation spot to fill.

All-Star left-hander Chris Sale is considered the heir-in-waiting.

‘‘[Sale] ranks up there,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘He’s got a lot of very good qualities. He’s very competitive. He gets angry in all the right ways. I think that’s a part of what’s going to make him better down the road. He’s had that all along, and I think that’s what’s gotten him to this point.’’

Peavy’s tenure with the Sox appears to be coming to an end, with sources confirming the team is close to moving him before the deadline. The St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox are thought to be the prime contenders, but the Atlanta Braves, who scouted Peavy in his start Thursday against the Detroit Tigers, might be in the picture after losing right-hander Tim Hudson to a season-ending broken ankle.

The Braves also are without left-hander Paul Maholm, who has been out since leaving his start July 20 against the Sox with a bruised left wrist.

Peavy has been a mentor to Sale, as well as to the Sox’ other young pitchers.

‘‘When you have a guy like Jake here, it’s a natural fit for Jake to [lead],’’ Ventura said. ‘‘But [Sale] is eventually going to have that.

‘‘He’s been with the right people. [Mark] Buehrle, [John] Danks, Peavy — that kind of leadership you kind of follow. I think he’s had some good role models, so it makes him better.’’

Sale got a tough lesson in leadership Saturday, pitching the fourth complete game of his career and his third this season but losing 1-0 to the Kansas City Royals.

‘‘It’s not easy to try to explain it to him,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘He’s learning a tough lesson. It’s part of baseball.’’

Sale admitted this season has been a difficult test.

‘‘You just have to stay positive,’’ Sale said after his record fell to 6-10 and he continued to get the fewest runs of support of any pitcher in the major leagues. ‘‘Baseball is crazy, and different things happen in different years.’’

Sale is 1-8 with a 2.84 ERA in his last 10 starts. His eight losses are the most in the majors during that span, but he has received only 16 runs while on the mound in those outings. The Sox managed only four hits in 71/3 innings against Royals starter Wade Davis (5-9).

Sale scattered seven hits, struck out seven and walked one as his ERA improved from 2.81 to 2.69. That ranks among the top five in the American League.

The Sox tried to rally against Royals closer Greg Holland (26th save) in the ninth. Alex Rios was at third with one out when right fielder David Lough made a diving catch of Jeff Keppinger’s sinking liner. Rios broke for home before the catch, then retreated. Pinch hitter Conor Gillaspie then struck out to end the game.

‘‘I don’t think there’s much I could have done,’’ Rios said. ‘‘That was a hell of a play, and even if I had tagged up, I don’t think I had a chance at home.’’

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