GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The first Cactus League start for Chris Sale as an official member of the White Sox rotation did not bring happiness or satisfaction to the 22-year-old southpaw.
In fact, Sale was downright perturbed by his performance.
"I don't look back on this by any means and say, 'I got my work in. I threw my pitches. All in all, not a bad day,'" said Sale, who allowed three runs on three hits over three innings. "That's not the mindset at all. I've got to be better than that, and I got this week to do that."
Sale showed off his electric stuff with strikeouts of Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker, Bryan LaHair and Steve Clevenger. But he was bothered by a two-out walk issued to Junior Lake with nobody on base and the game tied at 1 in the second, followed by an 0-2 fastball to Edgar Gonzalez that he deposited into the left-field stands for what amounted to the game-winning two-run homer.
Location on the fastball was center cut, as illustrated by Sale during his postgame media session. But the walk hit harder with Sale, even at this early stage of Spring Training.
"It absolutely kills you every time," said Sale of free passes. "Home runs happen, but walks are something you can control. You get two outs and walk a guy, it brings up another hitter. And look what happened.
"Just two-out walk, 0-2 home run, those things can't happen. I don't think it was the wrong pitch by any means. It was the wrong location. That one's on me."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura understood Sale's frustration, but is more focused on the converted reliever getting stretched out and ready for his fourth starting slot.
"They're all hard on themselves when they give up runs, but we're looking at the big picture, where he'll be at the end of the month," said Ventura of Sale. "He's going to have to get stronger, throw more innings. This is part of the process."