ANAHEIM, Calif. -- You can make an argument for either side whether or not Chris Sale should have started the eighth inning on Saturday night.
But with a seemingly sure-fire victory unraveling and Mike Trout at bat as the tying run, any pitcher will tell there’s no place they’d rather be than in control of his destiny.
The White Sox two-time All-Star got that chance and was left with his head hanging in disbelief, bent over at the waste, pyrotechnics firing off in the backdrop.
Even though his changeup was below the knees and outside, Trout crushed Sale’s offering for a game-tying grand slam to center that catapulted the Los Angeles Angels to a stunning 6-5 win over the White Sox at Angel Stadium.
Erick Aybar ended the sixth-run stanza with a two-out RBI single off Jake Petrcika and instead of looking for a series win on Sunday the White Sox start Jose Quintana in an attempt to avoid a sweep.
“It sucked,” Sale said. “There’s no doubt about it. When you put as much effort, and kind of your heart and soul into a game and it unravels like that, more than anything, I’m just kind of disappointed. I threw a good pitch to a better hitter and things happen.
“That’s why this game is as crazy as it is. You love it one minute, and you hate it the next.”
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The White Sox loved life headed into the eighth inning.
Fangraphs.com’s probability for a White Sox victory stood at 98.4 percent.
Sale entered at 93 pitches and with a shutout intact. He had only allowed three hits, though two came in the seventh inning before Sale struck out C.J. Cron to strand a pair.
“He was going pretty good by that point,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
“You’re not going to pull him out the way he’s going there. You have to let him have his game.”
Aybar doubled to start the rally and Chris Ianetta singled him in to pull the Angels within 5-1.
That’s when things got messy.
Alexei Ramirez bobbled Collin Cowgill’s grounder to short and instead of at least one or possibly even two outs, the Angels had two aboard with none out.
Howie Kendrick worked a full count and singled on the ninth pitch of the at-bat to load the bases for Trout. Trout fouled off two fastballs and then worked his count full before he crushed an 86-mph changeup from Sale.
Prior to the seventh, when he allowed five runs (four earned) and four hits, Sale had allowed two earned runs and seven hits in his previous 32 innings.
“It doesn’t matter what you’ve done up until then,” Sale said. “It matters how you finish it, and they finished it.
“I don’t really remember much from it. I just remember that ball going over the fence and wanting to rip my own head off.”
The White Sox had been on cruise control.
RBI singles by Adam Eaton and Gordon Beckham in the third inning put them ahead 2-0.
Alejandro De Aza’s RBI double to right-center in the fourth made it 3-0. Adam Dunn’s solo homer off Matt Shoemaker to start the sixth made it a four-run game and De Aza added a sac fly later in the inning to go ahead 5-0.
Everything was going according to plan, Sale destined for his sixth win in six decisions.
Even as the inning unfolded in nightmare fashion -- the botched ground ball, Kendrick’s bleeder to the right side -- Sale wanted every chance to hang on and finish the game.
“Yeah, without a doubt, I wanted to be in there,” Sale said. “I wanted to be in there, for sure. Without a doubt.”