- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Cubs were rolling. Then they ran into Chris Sale.

The Cubs managed just three hits and struck out 18 times in a 3-1 loss to Sale and the crosstown White Sox on Sunday. The North Siders had won nine in a row and 15 of 16.

Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera and Alexei Ramirez homered for the White Sox, who had lost 10 of 15. Abreu, Cabrera and Carlos Sanchez had two hits apiece.

Sale (11-7) matched a career high with 15 strikeouts while pitching seven scoreless innings. The lanky left-hander allowed one hit - Dexter Fowler’s one-out single in the sixth - and walked two.

“He made us look silly. But that’s what he does,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.



It was Sale’s 11th double-digit strikeout game of the year and ran his total for the season to a major league-best 208 Ks. He is 2-0 with a sparkling 0.64 ERA in two starts against the Cubs this year.

“I always enjoy playing the Cubs,” Sale said. “The atmosphere alone, this was probably the best atmosphere I’ve ever pitched in, honestly.”

The Cubs were trying for their first double-digit win streak since they won 12 in a row in 2001. But Dan Haren (8-8) allowed the three homers in his 4 2-3 innings.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the sixth, but Sale struck out Jorge Soler looking to end the inning.

“That moment where Soler struck out really had a playoff moment attached to it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “It was just all about the crowd, the moment, the bases loaded, everybody was going nuts. It was outstanding.”

And that’s good practice for what he hopes the Cubs will experience this fall.

“All those moments are going to contribute to our guys doing really well when it gets into September and getting eventually to October,” Maddon said.

David Robertson allowed Soler’s two-out homer in the ninth before finishing for his 24th save in 30 chances. Addison Russell reached on an infield hit after a replay challenge overturned the call on the field, but Starlin Castro grounded out to end the game.

Abreu hit his 22nd homer in the third. Ramirez connected in the fourth, and Cabrera added his eighth homer in the fifth on a hot day. It was 94 degrees at first pitch.

“This is what I grew up playing baseball in,” said Sale, who is from Lakeland, Florida. “I felt comfortable. You get a little sweat going and you stay loose.”

Haren, who was acquired in a July 31 trade with Miami, has allowed 27 home runs this season. He was struck in the right foot by a hard Sanchez grounder in the second. After throwing a few warmup pitches, Haren stayed in the game and got two popouts.

Cubs rookie Kris Bryant went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, ending his 12-game hitting streak. Russell, another rookie, was 1 for 4 with two Ks.

“It’s good to see what it’s like, it’s good to see that A-plus pitching,” Russell said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: OF J.B. Shuck was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and INF Emilio Bonifacio was designated for assignment. Shuck went on the DL on Aug. 1 for a strained left hamstring. He was hitting .278 with 11 RBIs in 54 games. Bonifacio was batting .167 with four RBIs in 47 games.

UP NEXT

Cubs: After an off day on Monday, the Cubs begin a two-game series against Detroit. RHP Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.10 ERA) pitches for Chicago against RHP Anibal Sanchez (10-10, 4.95 ERA).

White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon (5-4, 4.61 ERA) starts Monday in the opener of a four-game series against the Angels. LHP Andrew Heaney (5-1, 2.53 ERA) pitches for Los Angeles.

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