With tonight's victory, Chris Sale has more wins at U.S. Cellular Field in August than he did in June and July. Combined.
Of course, it wasn't easy. His teammates had to get out of their own way before they could give him a few drips of support, he benefited from a blown call and Addison Reed gave up a run in the ninth. Nevertheless, there was a hard-luck loser in this game, and it wasn't him.
Sale lasted 7⅓ innings, and the only run he allowed crossed the plate in the first inning courtesy of a couple of facepalms. He walked leadoff hitter Brett Gardner, but he appeared to erase the mistake when Alfonso Soriano hit a routine grounder to second. Gordon Beckham started a 4-6-3, but Alexei Ramirez couldn't complete the last step when his throw went wide of the bag.
Soriano stole second by the slimmest of margins, and then scored from 180 feet away on a (not particularly) wild pitch. Perhaps Josh Phegley called a slider, but a fastball went between his legs and off the knee of home plate umpire Alan Porter. He couldn't locate it, and Soriano didn't stop running after hitting third, scoring easily.
But Sale's fortunes reversed in the third. With two outs, Robinson Cano flipped a single to left. The speedy Gardner seemed like a lock to score, but he might've assumed the same thing to his detriment. Alejandro De Aza made a tremendous one-hop throw, Josh Phegley waited as long as he could to not give physical cues that a throw was coming in, and when Gardner stepped on the plate instead of sliding, Phegley tagged him on the back leg. The tag was after the foot hit the plate, but Porter didn't see it that way, and the game remained 1-0.
Sale held his ground from that point on, and the offense chipped in a few runs, albeit laboriously, against Hiroki Kuroda.
With two outs in the fourth, Conor Gillaspie reached down and poked a splitter into right field, lining the seventh pitch he saw that at-bat into right field, scoring Adam Dunn from second. Two innings later, Paul Konerko gave the Sox a lead when he barely legged out an attempted 5-4-3 double play after hitting a bouncer down the line with runners on the corners.
And one inning later, De Aza cashed in Beckham with a two-out double, giving the Sox an insurance run they would need when Reed gave up a pair of singles in the ninth. But he came back to strike out Soriano to end the game, and thank Heaven, Sale is 7-11.
- Sale's final line: 7⅓ IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 WP over 108 pitches. His fastball was clocked at 95.94 mph, his third-fastest average of the year.
- Nate Jones inherited a runner on first and one out in the eighth. Joe Girardi counterd with a pair of lefties, but it didn't matter. Jones froze Curtis Granderson with a 2-2 slider, then struck out Lyle Overbay with high heat to get out of the inning.