One of Chris Sale's best pitches Friday night carried over the head of left fielder Dayan Viciedo.

That typified the frustration Sale and the White Sox felt as Salvador Perez golfed a 1-2 pitch for a two-run double with two out in the seventh inning that helped the Royals hand the White Sox a 4-2 loss and cut their lead over the Tigers to 11/2 games in the American League Central.

"I got out-pitched, straight up," Sale said after losing for the first time since July 21 to Luis Mendoza. "Honestly. It's just bad. I have to be better than that."

Sale (14-4) might have been tough on himself, but the Sox were caught in a crossfire after they elected to walk Billy Butler, who hit a game-tying home run in his previous at-bat, to face Perez with the bases loaded and set up a potential inning-ending force play.

Instead, Perez hit a low and outside pitch for the game-winner as the Royals now have beaten the Sox in 16 of their last 24 showdowns.

"You look at their lineup, and Billy is one of those you want to stay away from and take your chance with Perez," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It was up to Chris, one of the best in the league and take your chances."