CHICAGO -- Chris Sale gave up a career-high four home runs Friday night against the Rangers. But a third-inning homer by Ian Kinsler may have been the strangest one he's ever allowed.
Kinsler hit a line drive down the left-field line that rolled into the space between the padding of the wall and the ground, where Dayan Viciedo momentarily lost it, enabling Kinsler to come all the way around to score as the Rangers beat the White Sox, 11-5, at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Maybe he missed it, maybe he didn't," Sale said of third-base umpire Greg Gibson's ruling. "I don't know how that rule stands. Certainly, I thought it wasn't [a live ball] and I think [manager] Robin [Ventura] did, too."
Ventura agreed with Sale and disagreed with Gibson's call. He was ejected arguing that it should have been ruled a ground-rule double.
"[Gibson] just said he saw it," Ventura said. "I figured [Viciedo] got on his hands and knees to go get it, [so] you'd think it would be lodged under there pretty good and they'd rule a double. But they didn't."
Kinsler said he knew what to do.
"I didn't think anything about it," he said. "I just kept running. … I know if they go in for it, they've got to get it. You can't go in for it and then hold your hands up or something like that. I don't know if that's a rule. I don't even know. It worked out. It worked out in our favor."
The inside-the-park homer -- the first of Kinsler's career and the first the White Sox have given up since Carl Crawford's inside-the-parker for Tampa Bay on July 20, 2009 -- was the most bizarre play of a night that Sale would like to forget.
After setting down the Rangers in order on 11 pitches in the first, the left-hander gave up a pair of two-run homers to Jeff Baker and Adam Rosales in the second that gave the Rangers an early 4-0 lead.
The White Sox responded with three runs in their half of the second on a two-run single by Viciedo and another single by Gordon Beckham.
But Sale was unable to settle down, giving up Kinsler's inside-the-park homer in the third and another run in the fourth on Rosales' sacrifice fly. Adrian Beltre hit a solo homer in the fifth, and Kinsler knocked another run in with a two-out single in the seventh.
"I wish I had something for [the Rangers]," Sale said. "I really have no excuses in my corner. My arm felt good, my body felt good, [and] my mind was right. I felt like my stuff was good. Sometimes you just get beat. I think tonight was one of those nights where they were better than I was."
Upon reaching the dugout after the seventh, Sale was visibly upset, slamming his glove down multiple times against the bench.
"You want to and expect to do the best job every time you go out there," Sale said. "When you don't do your best and quite honestly get your rear end kicked around for seven innings, you are going to get frustrated, and I was.
"Unfortunately, it came out and I'm embarrassed not only for myself but for my teammates that had to see that. It's one of those things you learn from and try to move on and whatever else comes from it."
One experience from the game that Sale said he enjoyed despite what the scoreboard read was the chance to face former teammates A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios. Pierzynski returned to U.S. Cellular Field for his first game since signing with the Rangers following eight seasons on the South Side, and Rios returned for the first time since being traded to Texas on Aug. 9.
"That was fun," Sale said. "[Pierzynski] and Rios both. It's a little bit different, obviously, throwing to [Pierzynski] and not against him. It was fun though. We both got a kick out of it, I believe. I enjoyed it, except for Rios because he got [two singles against] me."
The Rangers would tack on three more runs on a pinch-hit, two-run homer by Mitch Moreland against reliever Dylan Axelrod in the eighth, and Pierzynski's sacrifice fly in the ninth off of David Purcey.
Meanwhile, Rangers starter Martin Perez did settle down after the White Sox scored their fourth run on a fielder's choice in the fourth. Perez allowed one baserunner from the fifth through the seventh before giving way to the Texas bullpen, which yielded a run in the ninth on Jordan Danks' double.
The eight earned runs Sale allowed over his seven innings tied a career high. He also gave up eight runs in a 9-4 loss at Cleveland on April 13. The eight runs were also the most he has yielded at U.S. Cellular Field, eclipsing the five runs he gave up against Tampa Bay on Sept. 29, 2012.
But despite his rough outing and the Rangers' blowout win to snap the White Sox season-high six-game winning streak, this game will likely be remembered for Kinsler's unusual home run.
"It's just baseball is a crazy sport," Sale said. "You never know what you are going to get from it. Crazy things happen in this game and it's probably not the last time it's going to happen."
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.