The Seattle Mariners mustered just five hits while falling victim to a complete-game performance from Chris Sale in a 4-2 loss Sunday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox. Sale improved to 7-2 by striking out eight as the White Sox took two of three games from the Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field.
After looking re-energized in his previous four outings, Kevin Millwood lasted just four innings, surrendering a 2-o lead after Miguel Olivo blasted a 448-foot home run in the second. Millwood allowed four runs on seven hits while walking five in his shortest outing since an April 17 start against Cleveland.Trailing 2-0 the second, the White Sox were helped by home plate umpire Joe West hel in cutting Seattle’s lead in half. After a single and two walks loaded the bases, leadoff hitter Brent Lillibridge worked the count to 3-2. Millwood painted a fastball at the knees on the outside corner.
West called a ball, forcing in a run. The pitch-tracker on the ROOT Sports broadcast showed the fastball catching the outside corner. The walk set the tone on an afternoon where Millwood couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm.
“He was just missing,” manager Eric Wedge said after the game. “He didn’t quite have the command that he typically has, but he wasn’t way off. When he’s trying to get back, (he tries) to do a little bit too much from time to time.”
After yielding another run in the third, Millwood couldn’t work out of another jam the following inning. Tyler Flowers and Eduardo Escobar led off with back-to-back singles before Lillibridge struck out swinging. With runners still on the corners, Gordon Beckham continued to punish Mariners pitching, lacing a single down the left-field line to give Chicago a 3-2 lead.
After an intentional walk to Dunn, Millwood got Dayan Viciedo to fly out to shallow right. With the chance to escape the inning, Alex Rios slapped an infield single that ricocheted off Millwood’s foot, scoring Escobar as the White Sox went up 4-2.
From there, Sale carved through the Mariners lineup. The only other Seattle scoring threat came when Michael Saunders lined a double to lead off the fifth. But with a chance to cut into the deficit, the AL Pitcher of the Month in May struck out Alex Liddi before Brendan Ryan and Ichiro weakly flew out to end the inning.
Sale held down a Mariners team that had plated 45 runs over the past four games, dropping Seattle to 5-3 in rubber matches this season.
“It starts with his fastball, but he had a sharp breaking ball,” Wedge said of Chicago’s southpaw. “He did a good job pitching ahead and he did a good job pitching from behind.”