BOSTON -- A giant cutout photo of Chris Sale's head hung in the visitors' dugout at Fenway Park before the White Sox played the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
The game could have been about the White Sox showcasing their left-hander to secure him support in the All-Star Game's Final Vote contest, but it instead turned into a display of the their bullpen woes.
Against a lineup featuring five rookies, Sale held the Red Sox to one run on four hits through 7 2/3 innings, but White Sox relievers Jake Petricka and Javy Guerra combined to give up four runs in a 5-4 White Sox loss.
Guerra hit Mookie Betts with a pitch in the ninth and then gave up a game-tying double to Red Sox pinch-hitter Daniel Nava. Brock Holt belted his first career walk-off hit for the victory.
"Any time a starter throws that way, he deserves to win," said Guerra, who was saddled with a blown save and the loss. "The guy is special. Put it on me."
The White Sox lost for just the second time in their last seven games. They looked to be in control with a 4-0 lead through seven innings before the Red Sox rallied in the eighth.
Betts came up with an infield double against Sale when he beat out the throw to first and dashed to second with no White Sox player covering the base.
Sale recorded two outs and was at 107 pitches when White Sox manager Robin Ventura pulled him in favor of Petricka. Sale said he felt strong and was disappointed to be taken out, but Ventura said he was taking into consideration Petricka's string of 11 scoreless innings.
"That was the spot at that point for (Sale)," Ventura said. "He had been pitching hard. He was maxing out. He wasn't necessarily locating as well, and those other guys had been doing their job lately."
But Dustin Pedroia hit an RBI single off Petricka and David Ortiz added an RBI double to cut the White Sox lead to 4-2. Petricka walked Mike Napoli and gave up another run-scoring double to Jonny Gomes before Ventura called in Guerra, who recorded the final out of the inning.
"Just in the zone, a couple of pitches maybe he wants back," Ventura said of Petricka.
Jose Abreu and Conor Gillaspie each homered for a 2-0 White Sox lead.
Abreu's shot to center field came in the first inning against Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. Gillaspie followed with his to center in the second, the first time in Gillaspie's career that he has hit homers in consecutive games.
Gillaspie also doubled in the fourth inning and scored on Napoli's fielding error at first base for a 3-0 lead.
Tyler Flowers and Adam Eaton hit back-to-back doubles in the seventh off reliever Edward Mujica to push the lead to 4-0. The lead might have been more, but Alejandro De Aza was caught trying to make it home on Flowers' double.
"Any time you lose a game like that it's tough, but it happens," Sale said. "We've all been there before. You're going to win some on the flip side like that, and you're going to lose some."
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