Sale had allowed only a first-inning single and a walk in the third on Monday night, he hit two batters in the seventh inning and walked two others in the eighth.
Manager Robin Ventura opted to bring in closer David Robertson, who had not pitched since July 6. Adam Lind's pinch-hit, three-run walk-off homer with two outs completed the rally and gave the Mariners a 4-3 victory, saddling the White Sox with their fifth consecutive loss.
Although Sale would have preferred to stay in the game, Ventura said there was no argument about the change.
"This one was more telling him Robbie's going to have the ninth," Ventura said before Tuesday night's game at Safeco Field. "Seeing how he went through the seventh and the eighth kind of led to that more than anything. Going around the fourth time is another issue with that."
Ventura didn't think the layoff between Robertson's outings was the issue.
"You could look at it like that might be it, but he's had games where he's given up four runs before," Ventura said. "I think for us, we figured he was rested. I don't think it was rust. I think that stuff happens. It's a tough job and it's pass or fail and last night it didn't go our way."
Prior to the pitch to Lind, Robertson had converted 13 straight save opportunities, 17 of his last 18, and 23 of 25 overall.
But, he also had a couple of other late-inning meltdowns.
In late May, Robertson allowed six runs on four hits with two walks in two-thirds of an inning when the Royals rallied with seven runs in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 victory.
Three outings later, he gave up three runs on four hits in a non-save situation in an 11-4 loss to Washington.
"I think anytime a guy that's a closer and you don't close it out, it becomes memorable," Ventura said. "I think whether it's four runs or two runs, anytime you lose that one, especially a game like Chris threw, it's tough."
Jim Hoehn is a contributor for MLB.com based in Seattle.