CHICAGO — Chris Sale has had a forgettable year when pitching against the Cleveland Indians.
Sale was knocked around for six runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings during a rain-delayed 7-1 loss for the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, dropping to 0-4 with an 8.61 ERA against Cleveland.
“They roll out of a lot of righties,” Sale said. “When someone has your number, they have your number, much like Victor Martinez. There’s not much you can do when someone is on to you and kind of has your number. You just have to try to fight through that and battle through it.”
Sale (11-13) allowed three homers and dropped to 6-11 following a 5-2 start. He said the 4-hour, 23-minute delay before the first inning should have helped him.
“A little bit more time to prepare, a little bit more time to get ready,” he said. “It just didn’t work out in my favor.”
Nick Swisher homered from both sides of the plate for the 13th time, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run homer and the Indians pulled within a half-game of Tampa Bay and Texas in the AL wild-card race.
The Indians achieved a franchise first by sweeping a four-game series from the White Sox for the third time in a season.
“We come in every game trying to win it, and they outplayed us for four games,” White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn said. “You can take getting beat, but when they just flat out outplay, they pitch better and they hit better, they just outplay you.”
Zach McAllister (8-9) allowed one run and six hits in 6 2-3 innings with five strikeouts and a walk.
Last-place Chicago has lost six in a row, and at 58-91 is 33 games under .500 for the first time since finishing 1976 with a 64-97 record, according to STATS.
“They’ve been swinging it pretty good, and it continued tonight,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think once they got a couple on the board, they just seem to be a little more in rhythm than most teams.”
Matt Carson put Cleveland ahead in the second with an RBI single, starting only the second three-hit game of his major league career. His solo homer in the fifth was his first home run since Sept. 26, 2010, for Oakland.
Swisher, batting right-handed, homered leading off a four-run sixth, and Cabrera’s home run made it 6-0.
“I gave up a few homers, a changeup up to Cabrera and you obviously can’t do that to a hitter of his caliber,” Sale said. “I got a 3-2 count to Carson and, obviously, more times than not I’m coming in with a fastball there. They just put some good swings on some bad pitches, and they put some good swings on good pitches.”
Josh Phegley singled in a run for the White Sox in the seventh.
Switching around to the left-hand side against right-hander Ramon Troncoso in the ninth, Swisher hit his 20th home run of the season.
His 13 games with home runs from both sides tied former New York Yankees teammate Mark Teixeira for the most in major league history. Swisher has 20 career multihomer games.
“The way things are kind of going down the stretch, you’ve got to step your game up in situations like this,” Swisher said. “Seasons like this don’t come around very often. We have a chance to make it into the playoffs and that’s what we’re doing.”
NOTES: The White Sox have not been 34 games under .500 since finishing 1970 at 56-106, according to STATS. ... The 12 consecutive losses against Cleveland ties the White Sox record for most against one opponent, set against the Boston Red Sox from Aug. 5, 1921, to May 15, 1922. ... Chicago CF Avisail Garcia was scratched from the starting
lineup to be with his pregnant wife. Leury Garcia replaced him. ... The White Sox offered fans with tickets to Sunday’s game a free ticket to an April 2014 home game excluding opening day and the series against Boston (April 15-17).