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Padres offence can't get going against ace Chris Sale in 4-1 loss to White Sox

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CHICAGO - Eric Stults says he doesn't pay too much attention to the opposing pitchers during his starts.

But it was hard not to take notice of the way Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale threw on Sunday.

Sale pitched a two-hitter, Paul Konerko homered and the White Sox defeated the San Diego Padres 4-1 on Sunday.

"As an opposing pitcher you really don't think about the other guy on the mound, Stults said.

"You want to go out and put zeroes up no matter who you're throwing against."

Sale (5-0) struck out nine, walked none and threw 100 pitches. He got Everth Cabrera for a called strike three to end the game, and retired the final 14 batters.

"I was trying to throw as many strikes as I could," Sale said. "I knew this team was gonna come out swinging. Not only that, but quality pitches as well, just trying to keep the ball down."

Stults (2-6) was encouraged by his performance despite the loss. He gave up four runs and five hits in six innings.

"Overall, stuff today was probably one of the best it's been all year," Stults said. "Just one of those days where you have good stuff, but the results just don't line up.

His best was no match for Sale, who has allowed just two earned runs in his past 25 innings over four starts, and has a 1.59 ERA overall. The lefty was on the disabled list in late April because of a strained muscle in his pitching arm.

He was originally supposed to pitch Monday, but after a rain-shortened outing Tuesday the White Sox made the decision to bump his start a day and pitch him on normal rest.

"He was on today no doubt about it," Padres manager Bud Black said. I think the rain-shortened start and then pitching on his regular turn, he was fresh."

Konerko also doubled and drove in three runs as the White Sox won for the eighth time in 13 games to avoid a sweep at home

Sale retired 12 straight batters to start the game. He struck out four in the first two innings before the Padres began swinging early in the count.

"He's got a great hits-to-innings pitch ratio," Black said. "This guys an All-Star, one of the best pitchers in the game."

Konerko gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the second when he hit a drive to the back of the left-field bullpen for his third homer of the season.

"The home run to Konerko was a ball down," Stults said. "It was just over the plate, kind of more his swing path."

Chase Headley led off the Padres fifth with his fifth homer. Tommy Medica followed with a single, but Sale quickly regrouped. He got Jedd Gyorko to ground into a double play and struck out Yonder Alonso to end the inning.

"I don't think (Headley) missed any of that one," Sale said. "It was a fastball left right there for him. ... He's a big strong guy and made me pay for it, obviously."

Sale was economical with his pitches. Through eight innings he had thrown just 84, making the decision to bring him out for the ninth that much easier for manager Robin Ventura.

"The philosophy is on or out in three, so I was just trying to fill the zone with quality strikes and go from there," Sale said.

Ventura said it was the most efficient he's ever seen Sale. The time it took to complete the game just 2 hours, 8 minutes reflected that.

The White Sox regained the lead in the fifth on a solo homer by Tyler Flowers. They added two more in the sixth when Konerko doubled down the left-field line with two outs, driving in Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez.

NOTES: Padres CF Cameron Maybin missed the game and is listed day to day after leaving Saturday's game with a sore right calf. LF Tommy Medica left the game in the eighth inning with a strained right quadriceps. He will be examined Monday.

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