The Chicago White Sox's Chris Sale took another hard-luck loss last week despite delivering one of his most dominant performances.
He hasn't needed much run support against the Minnesota Twins.
Looking to snap a career-worst three-start losing streak, Sale tries to win a fourth consecutive outing versus Minnesota on Wednesday night.
While Sale (5-5, 2.43 ERA) ranks among the AL leaders in ERA and opponent batting average (.189), his run-support average of 2.74 is the lowest in the league. He's been backed by a combined four runs in three starts this month, losing each despite a 2.11 ERA.
Sale had everything working Friday but saw his poor luck continue in a 2-1 defeat at Houston. The left-hander struck out a season-high 14 in a complete game, allowing two unearned runs and five hits.
"You don't want to hang your head," he said. "Obviously, it's disappointing, but at the end of the day, these guys are grinding it out and not giving anybody anything. I know everyone in here is fighting and grinding, and that's the main goal."
Sale walked one and threw 85 of his career-high 124 pitches for strikes.
"He's absolutely one of the best pitchers we've faced this year, and if we face him again, he'll be one of the best then, too," Astros second baseman Jose Altuve told MLB's official website.
The Twins (31-36) surely felt the same way after Sale baffled them last year. He won all three of his starts in the series while allowing a combined two runs and 11 hits over 20 innings.
"He's pretty doggone good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after Sale threw six innings of three-hit ball in Chicago's 6-0 road win Sept. 14.
Sale has handled several Minnesota hitters very well, including Josh Willingham (1 for 12 with seven strikeouts), Justin Morneau (2 for 9) and Ryan Doumit (1 for 6).
Doumit entered Tuesday mired in a 3-for-27 slump before going 3 for 4 with a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning of a 7-5 series-opening victory.
"It's nice to be the guy who came up with the big hit," he said. "Hopefully I can keep it going."
Joe Mauer also had three hits, including a two-run homer. He's batting .390 with two homers, six RBIs and eight runs in his last 11 home games versus Chicago.
Sitting in last place in the AL Central, the White Sox (29-39) have dropped five of six and 15 of 20. They're on the verge of falling a season-high 11 games under .500.
"I still think there's some good to come out of this at some point," Paul Konerko said after going 4 for 4 with an RBI. "It hasn't been right now, it hasn't been before now, but we still have good baseball in us. We just haven't shown it."
The White Sox will try to turn things around against Kevin Correia (5-4, 3.97), who's 2-3 with a 5.36 ERA in his last eight starts. The right-hander allowed one run and eight hits in five innings but didn't factor in the decision of Thursday's 3-2 loss to Philadelphia.
In his only appearance versus Chicago, Correia gave up four runs and nine hits over seven innings May 14 in a 4-2 defeat. He'll need to be careful against Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo, who both took him deep that night. Dunn is 4 for 12 with two homers lifetime against him.