Alex Rios was the only regular who seemed to show up ready to play in the White Sox' latest biggest game of the year Saturday.
And after the Rays pounded the Sox 10-4 at U.S. Cellular Field, Rios (2-for-3, outfield assist) didn't even try to put a positive spin on the four games left in the regular season.
"We have to win every game and hope that Detroit loses a couple," Rios said. "That's what has to happen."
In his worst start of the season, starter Chris Sale couldn't find the plate against Tampa Bay and was gone with one out in the fourth inning. And White Sox hitters, outside of Rios, couldn't touch Rays starter Matt Moore.
The Tigers, meanwhile, held off the Twins in Minnesota and now lead the AL Central by 2 games with four to play. Detroit's magic number is down to 3.
The White Sox were losing 10-0 before Orlando Hudson hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning. Way too little, way too late.
Afterward, manager Robin Ventura still wasn't conceding the division to the Tigers.
"You know, anything can happen," Ventura said. "And again, we're coming in ready to play tomorrow."
When asked about Saturday's loss to Tampa Bay, Ventura wasn't so positive. He said the Sox "stunk."
"It's pretty simple," Ventura said. "We did. We didn't hit. Everybody that came off the bench seemed to hit or do something. That's just the way it goes."
Barring a miraculous comeback, Sale made his last start of the season.
It has been a remarkable year for the White Sox' 23-year-old lefty, but Sale has clearly hit a wall while upping his season innings total to 192.
Last year he threw 71 innings out of the Sox' bullpen.
While his fastball was right around normal at 92-94 mph, Sale seemed to lack the energy needed to make his breaking pitches bite.
Afterward, he discounted any fatigue factor.
"No chance," Sale said after allowing 5 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks in 31⁄3 innings while losing at home for the first time since May 12. "I felt just as good as any time out.
"I felt strong, I just was all over the place. Just didn't throw strikes. Walked a lot of guys. Gave up hits at the wrong times, and they capitalized on my mistakes. I just didn't do anything to help myself or help the team."
The Rays had two runners on base in the first and second innings, and Sale was able to wiggle out of trouble.
"I thought early on, you know a couple bloop hits and we worked out of those jams and stuff," catcher Tyler Flowers said. "It felt like it was going to be a good day even though it wasn't his best stuff. His off-speed command was good early. Just that one inning kind of steamrollered on us."
That was the third, when the Rays scored 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk, with Jeff Keppinger's 2-run homer setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Sale agreed with Ventura on the "stunk" description, blaming himself for the loss.
"I got knocked out after 31⁄3 innings," Sale said. "That was terrible. That was a disgrace. For him to say that was probably putting that lightly. I did nothing to help the team win, put guys in positions that they shouldn't have been in.
"To go out and have your starter go 4 innings, that's a recipe for a disaster pretty much every time. Like I said before, I just didn't do my job. The team needed me, and I didn't pull it out for them. Just a frustrating day."