Alexei Ramirez committed two errors in the fifth inning to help the Astros take the lead. The errors ruined a great outing by Sale (5-5), who allowed five hits and no earned runs with a season-high 14 strikeouts in eight innings.
Sale had retired 11 of 12 before Ronny Cedeno reached with no outs in the fifth on the first error by Ramirez.
Cedeno advanced to second on a wild pitch by Sale with two outs before Trevor Crowe drew a walk. The second error by Ramirez came when he badly overthrew second base on a force play, which allowed Brandon Barnes to reach, Crowe to move to third and Cedeno to score.
Houston took a 2-1 lead when Altuve singled on a sharp grounder that scored Crowe.
"That is what you call straight effort baseball," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "Guys just legging out infield hits and giving it everything they have hustling on the bases. Just an all-around tremendous job against one of the more dominant pitchers in our league."
Barnes raved about Sale and was glad the Astros were able to pounce on Chicago after the errors.
"When a guy is in scoring position, that's when you've really got to lock in and try to make something happen," Barnes said. "We put some balls in play in the right spots, and that's when things happened."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura was disappointed that his team wasn't able to help back up Sale's performance.
"It's obviously frustrating to lose when you get a pitching performance like that," Ventura said. "Chris threw great. They just had an inning where they scored a couple runs and never hit the ball out of the infield. It's a tough one as far as the way he pitched, and you want to get better."
Bedard (2-3) yielded three hits and one run with six strikeouts to bounce back from his previous outing when he allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Sale was pitching on extra rest after he was scheduled to start Chicago's game against Toronto on Wednesday, which was postponed due to bad weather. He took a third straight loss despite coming just one strikeout shy of his career best of 15.
Ramirez didn't speak to reporters after the game, but was visibly distraught when the group entered the clubhouse. He remained in his uniform, sitting motionless at his locker with his head buried in his hands.
Sale called Ramirez "one of the best" after the game and said no one can be perfect all the time.
"I went over there and tapped him on the shoulder and said: 'Hey, you're still the best. Stuff happens. Derek Jeter makes errors. Things happen to great players sometimes,'" Sale said.
The White Sox, who entered the game having won three of four, continued to struggle on the road and have dropped 10 of 11 away from Chicago. They have been outscored 62-34 in that span.
Bedard got into trouble in the second when he loaded the bases on a single by Wells with two outs, but he escaped the jam by striking out Tyler Flowers.
Before his tough fifth inning, Ramirez robbed Chris Carter of a hit when he made a leaping catch on a sharp liner to end the fourth.
- The White Sox are scheduled to start left-handers in each of the four games of this series. It will be the first time Houston has faced four straight left-handers since September 2002 when they faced two from the Dodgers followed by two against Colorado, according to information provided by the Astros from the Elias Sports Bureau.
- The series will continue on Saturday when Houston's Lucas Harrell opposes John Danks.
- OF Alejandro De Aza was out of the lineup on Friday because of a stomach problem. Ventura said he was sent to a hospital in Houston to be checked out. "There's nothing major ... going on," Ventura said. "I don't know what it is. I just know he wouldn't be able to start tonight."
- Houston OF Justin Maxwell, on the disabled list with a broken bone in his left hand, is on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Porter said there is no timetable for his return to the team.
- Houston signed four picks from this year's draft on Friday. They were fourth-round pick 1B Conrad Gregor, sixth-round pick C Jacob Nottingham, 21st-round selection OF Jon Kemmer, and 38th-round pick OF Ronnie Mitchell.