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Sale's 'bad day' adds to White Sox road woes

Chicago falls to 2-8 away from home after rout in Minneapolis
MLB.com @scottmerkin

MINNEAPOLIS -- On a night when Chris Sale set a couple of dubious individual pitching marks amidst his impressive young career, the White Sox ace and leader wasn't going to have blame laid anywhere else but on his shoulders.

"Don't judge my teammates on what I put them in. I was bad," said Sale, following Chicago's 12-2 loss at Target Field. "I gave up nine hits. There's no defending that. I walked a couple of guys. If there's anything, it's me being pretty darn bad out there.

Full Game Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS -- On a night when Chris Sale set a couple of dubious individual pitching marks amidst his impressive young career, the White Sox ace and leader wasn't going to have blame laid anywhere else but on his shoulders.

"Don't judge my teammates on what I put them in. I was bad," said Sale, following Chicago's 12-2 loss at Target Field. "I gave up nine hits. There's no defending that. I walked a couple of guys. If there's anything, it's me being pretty darn bad out there.

Full Game Coverage

"I just stunk really. Just a bad day, and I picked a bad day to be pretty bad too."

Sale was not alone, as the defense certainly could have provided him a slightly better fate. But this was one of those rare off-nights for Sale, who entered with a 7-1 career record against the Twins. He allowed a career-high nine runs (eight earned), and the Twins' seven-run third marked the most he's given up in one inning.

The three innings worked by Sale equaled his shortest career start not influenced by rain. Sale only threw 11 sliders, with six of them against Joe Mauer, according to MLB.com Gameday.

But Sale's pitching focus falls more so upon being able to locate fastballs to both sides of the plate. That plan simply didn't work on Thursday.

"Left some changeups up," Sale said. "Fastballs over the middle of the plate. Just didn't put guy away when I should have or had the chance."

"He probably just didn't have the same bite as he usually has, maybe location," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Sale. "But we also didn't help him."

Having Jeff Samardzija and Sale start back-to-back games shouldn't add up to a combined 20-4 deficit and two losses. That's not in the White Sox blueprint. Even with these rough couple of efforts and a 2-8 road record overall, the White Sox aren't making season-wide value judgments -- just as Thursday's poor showing doesn't knock Sale from his lofty pitching perch.

"We are a good team. We have professionals. We have guys that can win, that want to win most important," Sale said. "We are going to come back tomorrow and there's going to be baseball to be played. We are going to do that and be ready to win."

"You don't expect the number seven to come up with Chris pitching," Ventura said. "There was a lot of different things going on. We just have to be sharper."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chicago White Sox, Chris Sale