One bad pitch.
Most teams can weather them, and many go on to thrive.
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The White Sox aren't one of those teams, at least not in the present tense.
One bad pitch can be fatal, and for Chris Sale, it came in the sixth inning Friday night against Oakland.
Seemingly in complete control and holding a 3-0 lead, Sale found himself in a full-blown jam when the A's loaded the bases with one out.
And on a 1-1 pitch to cleanup hitter Josh Donaldson, the Sox' ace left a 95-mph fastball up and over the outside corner.
Donaldson drilled it over the right-field fence for a grand slam and the red-hot Athletics held on for a 4-3 win, their 18th in 21 games.
The Sox, on the other hand, lost for the 10th time in 11 games.
"It (stinks)," Sale (5-4) said after losing to Oakland for the second time in six days. "It just shows you how important one pitch can be in a ballgame. Off the bat I figured it was going to be a sac fly or something. It just kept going. (Donaldson) got more of a hold of it than I thought he did."
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Conor Gillaspie hit a deep drive to right and it looked like the White Sox pulled even with the A's at 4-4.
But right fielder Josh Reddick perfectly timed his jump and robbed Gillaspie of a home run.
In Friday's 5-4 loss to Oakland in 10 innings, Adam Dunn made the final out when he flied to the left-field fence.
"It seems like when things ain't going right, something will come up and it seems like it works against you," said Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who filled in for manager Robin Ventura (family graduation). "We have to try to fight against getting discouraged when it happens because we have our best guy out there (Sale), things are looking good, and all of the sudden they ain't looking so good."
The White Sox were looking really good in the eighth inning when Tyler Flowers (3-for-3, solo home run) led off with a single to chase A's starter Jarrod Parker (5-6) and reliever Ryan Cook walked Alejandro De Aza.
But the rally fizzled when Alexei Ramirez popped out on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Alex Rios popped out and Dunn flied out.
"We played hard," Cooper said. 'We just feel short. We didn't get a bunt down there, that didn't help. That kind of changed the momentum a little bit. Not getting the bunt down, that didn't help, giving the other team an out right there. We would have had the go-ahead run on second base. I like our chances there."