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Chris Sale, White Sox Pitcher On Struggle With Losing Streak: 'My Team Deserved A Better Effort'

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CHRIS SALE WHITE SOX
Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale delivers a pitch against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning of an MLB baseball game in Chicago Sunday, April 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty) | AP

CLEVELAND -- Chris Sale knows, as ace of the Chicago White Sox's staff, it's his responsibility to help get his team on the right track when things are going wrong.

He didn't get the job done Saturday.

"It was a terrible, terrible day," he said after allowing a career-high eight runs in a 9-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians. "My team needed a better effort and deserved a better effort. I didn't give it to them."

Sale (1-1) allowed two home runs, including Mark Reynolds' grand slam in the fifth that turned Chicago's one-run deficit into a 7-2 lead for the Indians. He also gave up Nick Swisher's home run in the first after the White Sox had taken a 2-0 lead.

Sale lasted just 4 1-3 innings in losing to the Indians for the first time in 15 career appearances, including four starts.

"I'm just trying to forget about this one as best I can," he said. "There's nothing to take from this to learn from. There are going to be days like this."

Sale was particularly unhappy about the pitch to Reynolds.

"It was hanging slider right over the plate," he said. "You're not getting away with that here or anywhere."

"I was looking to put the ball in the air," Reynolds said. "It wasn't an easy day to get it out of the park, but it's never an easy day here, so far."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura knew Sale wasn't at his best.

"He seemed to be in the middle of the plate a lot," Ventura said. "When you get it over the middle of the plate they have some guys who can swing the bat. They didn't miss."

All five of Chicago's losses during the streak have been on the road. The White Sox are 0-5 away from home for the first time since 1972 and are the only winless team on the road in the majors.

Following Reynolds' home run, Sale's next hit pitch hit Michael Brantley in the back – one of three hit batters Saturday – prompting plate umpire Ed Hickox to immediately warn both teams. Sale then threw a pitch in the dirt that nearly hit Mike Aviles in the foot. He was removed after Aviles flied out before Gomes homered to center off Duente Heath for his first hit of the season.

Sale said he didn't hit Brantley intentionally.

"That was me being an idiot, honestly," he said. "Going out there and trying to overthrow and blow it by him. It got away and hit him. If you're going to hit a guy you don't do it there. I know enough about the game if I was going to do it intentionally it's not going to be at that time. Not only does that look bad on my part, it looks bad on my team and that's not what we're about and that's not what I'm about."

Sale said he doesn't want to put a target on his own hitters' backs in case the other team wants to retaliate in these situations.

"It's not their fault I gave up eight runs and it's not their fault the grand slam left the yard," Sale said. "That's on me. I had no intentions of doing that. I don't think I ever will."

Chicago scored two unearned runs in the first off Zach McAllister (1-1) thanks in part to first baseman Reynolds' throwing error. Following Jeff Keppinger's double, Alex Rios hit a slow roller toward first. Reynolds fielded the ball, but his toss was behind McAllister and hit off the pitcher's glove. Keppinger scored and Rios took second as the ball rolled away. Paul Konerko's single made it 2-0, but that was all the White Sox could muster off McAllister, who retired 16 of 17 at one point.

McAllister allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings. He gave up five hits and struck out six. McAllister was removed after hitting Alexei Ramirez in the left arm in the seventh, but was not ejected. Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run homer off Bryan Shaw.

Sale was 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA (eight earned runs in 34 1-3 innings) in 16 career appearances against the Indians going into the game.

Konerko leads active players with 46 homers and 172 RBIs against the Indians.

NOTES: White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was released from a northern Virginia hospital Saturday where he had been treated for diverticulitis. He became ill Tuesday while the team was in Washington for a series against the Nationals. Cooper will return to Chicago for more tests. ... C Tyler Flowers, who is hitless in his last 21 at-bats, started Saturday after not playing Friday. ... Indians manager Terry Francona said DH Jason Giambi would probably play Sunday against RHP Jake Peavy. Giambi, who began the season on the disabled list with a strained back, was activated Friday. ... RHP Brett Myers will start for the Indians.

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