The first of two.
Adam Dunn enjoyed his first multi-homer game and first five-RBI game in a White Sox uniform, and Chris Sale set a career high with 11 strikeouts. The former helped stake the latter to a big lead, and the Sox had enough to start their West Coast swing with a winner.
For the second time in three starts, Sale had a multiple-run lead before he even took the mound. The offense made Hector Noesi (anagram: "Nice Hooters") throw 38 pitches in the first, tagging him for two runs on a Dunn RBI double and an Alex Rios sacrifice fly.
One inning later ... well, Noesi couldn't even make it through the inning. He started by getting Dayan Viciedo to ground out, and then came a barrage of hits. Gordon Beckham blooped a double to right center, Alejandro De Aza dropped a perfect bunt down the third-base line, and Brent Morel followed Beckham's lead with a single in the same direction.
Then came Dunn, who hit a soaring fly that just cleared the right-center wall for a three-run shot, giving the White Sox a 6-0 lead. Dunn's blast was the first ball hit to the pull field up to that point, as even the outs were hit to the opposite way.
Noesi was done, and so was the White Sox offense, except for a Dunn solo shot later off Hisashi Iwakuma in the eighth. But it was enough for Sale, who worked around a fair amount of baserunners with his strikeout stuff.
The Mariners were in position to make a dent in the early lead, putting runners on the corners with their first two batters. But Sale made Ichiro Suzuki look ridiculous with a set of sliders diving down and away, and Justin Smoak grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. An inning later, he stranded two runners in scoring position by striking out Brendan Ryan with that slider.
Sale wasn't at his best. He only recorded one 1-2-3 inning all night. The Mariners actually outhit the Sox 9-8, and Sale added a walk in each of the second, third and fourth innings. Suzuku came back with an RBI double in the third, and drove in an inherited runner with a single to left. In between, Jesus Montero showed his power with a solo shot to center to start the sixth. But thanks to his strikeout stuff, the Mariners were never able to really sustain a rally, going just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
The White Sox, on the other hand, were 4-for-6 in the clutch, and that made the difference tonight.
- The Sox struck out only four times, after suffering 16 against Baltimore on Thursday.
- The Sox also managed just two hits and a walk after the second inning. Iwakuma and Erasmo Ramirez saved the bullpen with 7 2/3 innings of easy relief.