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White Sox 6, Tigers 3: Chris Sale settles down, strikes out 13

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Chicago ace beats Max Scherzer for elusive August win after giving up two homers in the first inning

Jeffrey Phelps

I followed this one on the radio and Gameday while on the road, so bullet points.

*Chris Sale in the first inning: 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR

*Chris Sale over the next six: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K

*Ian Kinsler led off the game with a solo shot, and Victor Martinez added a two-run homer later in the inning to put Sale in a quick 3-0 hole. But Sale also struck out the side that inning, which suggested that his stuff might win out. And after striking out the side in three more innings, I think it's safe to say that was the case.

*Sale picked up his first win of August thanks to an offense that capitalized on the kinds of opportunities missed the day before -- which was impressive, since Max Scherzer started for Detroit.

*Scherzer helped the White Sox by throwing away a pickoff attempt that allowed Alexei Ramirez to go from first to third, and Ramirez came home when an Adam Dunn grounder ate up Kinsler. It should've ended the inning, but the Sox put a dent in the early deficit.

*The Sox took the lead for good in the third with a four-run explosion. Adam Eaton singled, stole second and scored on Ramirez's ground-rule double. Ramirez then came around to score when Jose Abreu reached across the plate and poked a low-and-away slider up the middle, tying the game. Adam Dunn then hit a sky-high fly to right that fell straight down into the ground level of the patio section, giving the Sox a 5-3 lead.

*Tyler Flowers pounced on a hanging first-pitch curve and rattled it off the left field foul pole for a solo shot with one out in the fourth.

*Sale protected that lead through seven innings, striking out 13 batters. The best one? When he blew a fastball past Torii Hunter after plunking him on the foot earlier in the at-bat. Hunter took his base, only to be told on the appeal that he didn't check his swing.

*Scherzer also calmed down and struck out 11 through 6⅔, but he still tied personal worsts against the Sox with six runs allowed (and five earned runs allowed).

*Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka pitched a scoreless inning apiece. Ronald Belisario also pitched, but he allowed a leadoff single in the eighth that Putnam had to clean up.

*Petricka brought the tying run to the plate with one out, but ended the game by getting Kinsler to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play.

*Eaton (2-for-4) and Abreu (3-for-4) continue to power the offense, but this is what it looks like when others join in.

***

And here's a narrative version, courtesy of slyder:

It's known that Max Scherzer owns the Chicago White Sox, especially in 2014. Before today's game he was 4-0 with an ERA of 0.96, striking out 31 while walking only eight. Shoot, he had his first complete game shut out of his career against the Sox this season.

With the wackiness that comes with late-season doubleheaders, Manager Robin Ventura bumped Chris Sale from the nightcap to face off against Scherzer for better results. The anticipation of a pitchers' duel was in the air prior to the game starting. Then the game started and the Tigers knocked the wind out of Sale with two home runs. Ian Kinsler provided the first, hitting his 31st leadoff home run of his career on a 1-2 fastball. The second, to nobody's surprise, was socked by Victor Martinez who was 13-for-24 against Sale prior to today's start. After Torii Hunter singled, Martinez made it 3-0 two batters later hitting his third career home run off Sale. The silver lining of the top half inning was that Sale struck out the side, which thankfully was a sign of things to come.

White Sox were able to reduce the deficit in the bottom half of the first thanks to two errors by the Tigers. The first -- and boy do the Tigers starters need work on this -- was another errant pickoff throw. Just like Justin Verlander on Friday night, Scherzer airmailed his pickoff throw which allowed Alexei Ramirez to advance two bases and get himself on third. He would later score on Adam Dunn's grounder to second that ate up Kinsler for his sixth error of the season.

In the bottom of the third inning, the unimaginable happened: The White Sox finally broke through against Scherzer.

Adam Eaton got the rally started with a single on a 0-2 pitch. After Eaton stole second, Ramirez hit a ground rule double on a 3-2 pitch to score Eaton and make it a 3-2 game. Jose Abreu, who was embarrassed in the first inning against Scherzer striking out on three pitches, had a great battle against Scherzer which he won after hitting a single to center field which tied the game at 3. With the sparse crowd of White Sox fans getting back into the game, Adam Dunn smacked his 20th home run (459th in his career) to give the Sox a 5-3 lead.

Now back to Sale, who after his horrid first inning, decided to not let the Tigers make much contact. He allowed only three more hits in the next six innings. For the few in the "Condor's Nest", it was a great game to use the K sign as he struck out 13. That's good for his seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season and he rebounded quite nicely to snap a five-game winless streak (0-2, three no-decisions) for his 11th win of the year.

Record: 61-74 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights