CHICAGO — Chris Sale got his groove back, but he didn’t get a win.
The White Sox ace struck out a season-high 14, but was outpitched by Felix Hernandez and the Seattle bullpen, and the Mariners ended a three-game skid Friday night by beating Chicago 3-1.
Hernandez (9-4) improved to 5-0 in eight starts since returning from the disabled list, throwing 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball. Sale (15-7) gave up five hits and walked none in his fifth complete game of the season. He retired the final 16 batters, striking out 10 of them.
No Seattle hitter reached base after Adam Lind doubled in the Mariners’ third run with two outs in the fourth inning.
“After the fourth, I found like a good cruising speed,” Sale said. “I had good tempo.”
“I felt like I got into a pretty good groove. I just tried to lengthen it as much as I could, fill up as many innings as I could and give us a chance to win,” Sale said.
Sale struck out six straight in the sixth and seventh innings, one shy of Joe Cowley’s team record.
Still, Sale is just 1-5 in his last eights starts. He was 14-2 after winning at Houston on July 2.
“I guess it looks good on paper,” Sale said, “but you want to come out on top in a game like that, no doubt.”
Franklin Gutierrez hit a solo home run. Todd Frazier’s 32nd home run in the seventh was one of eight hits off Hernandez until he left with the bases loaded.
Hernandez, a six-time All-Star, entered leading the AL in ERA (2.95) since 2012. Sale, a five-time All-Star, was tops in that period in strikeouts (1,065).
“Both guys pitched great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You got a couple solo homers that cancel each other out and they just executed better when they got the chance.”
Sale started for the AL in the All-Star Game this year after Hernandez did in 2015.
“I know I’m facing Sale and he’s a great pitcher and it’s going to be a tough game,” Hernandez said. “We scored those three runs and the bullpen was a little tired, so I needed to go deep in the game.”
Gutierrez sent Sale’s 97 mph fastball into the seats in right-center in the second and the Mariners added another run on a double play in the third.
Nelson Cruz singled and scored on Lind’s double in the fourth.
The White Sox hit into two double plays and had two players picked off first before Frazier homered.
Mariners: 3B Kyle Seager (foot) missed a third straight game, but said he was “definitely getting better” and was expected back Saturday. Manager Scott Servais said when Seager returns they’ll switch out a position player for a 12th pitcher. “We do need the extra arm,” Servais said. “You can’t carry what we’re carrying right now for too many days.”
White Sox: C Alex Avila (hamstring) was activated off the disabled list to replace C Dioner Navarro, who was traded to Toronto. ..LF Melky Cabrera (sick) missed a second straight game. “It looks like he’ll be fine for tomorrow,” manager Robin Ventura said.
Chicago’s Jose Quintana (10-9), holder of the AL’s third-best ERA at 2.84, faces fellow LHP Ariel Miranda (1-0, 5.49) on Saturday night.