The White Sox offense was its usual tedious self, but at least they forced Lance Lynn to pile up the pitches early.
That meant when the 11th inning rolled around, they had the opportunity to face a former farmhand in a high-leverage situation.
Miguel Socolovich, whom the Sox acquired when they shipped David Aardsma to Boston lo those many years ago, topped out at 90. That was still enough to for him to strike out Gordon Beckham -- badly -- but Alexei Ramirez hinted at daylight when he hit one of his longest fly balls of the year (which was short of the warning track, but still).
Tyler Flowers then came up and hit one well over the warning track. On a 1-2 count, Socolovich tried getting inside on Flowers with an 89 mph fastball. It caught enough of the plate for Flowers to turn on it, and he crushed it 431 feet to left center for the go-ahead homer.
Because Chris Sale went two innings longer than Lynn, Robin Ventura still had David Robertson available in the 11th. Robertson didn't make it easy, giving up a pair of two-out singles, but Xavier Scruggs bounced out to Beckham at third to end the Cardinals' six-game winning streak. St. Louis is now a pedestrian 29-8 at Busch Stadium.
The only shame is that Chris Sale ended up with a no-decision, because he tried to win the damn game by himself.
He tied Pedro Martinez's MLB record by striking out 10 batters in his eighth straight start. He ended up with 12 over eight innings, over which only Randal Grichuk posed problems.
He scored the Sox' only run through the first 10 innings, albeit with some help. He got on base by himself with a single, but advanced to second when Pete Kozma couldn't get the lead runner, and scored when Jose Abreu's slowish grounder up the middle bounced off second base and into the outfield.
Sale also came closest to delivering another RBI hit in regulation with two outs in the fourth inning, but Scruggs made a diving stop to prevent his grounder from going through the hole on the right side.
That play loomed large, because Grichuk tied the game in the bottom of the inning by clouting a knee-high, plate-splitting changeup off the third deck to make it a 1-1 affair.
That was Sale's lone scar on his piching line. He allowed six hits -- three to Grichuk -- and one walk while striking out a dozen, and he also pitched over a couple mistakes by the defense. Melky Cabrera sat too far back on a line drive by Grichuk, and he turned a single into a double to start the sixth inning. Sale ended up stranding him with a strikeout, groundout and strikeout.
In the eighth, with Sale's pitch count (110) and potential TTOP (fourth time) posing problems beyond runners on first and second and one out, Abreu and Avisail Garcia compounded the issues by colliding on a Jhonny Peralta foul ball well down the right field line. Garcia had an angle, but he didn't call Abreu off, and Garcia ended up hitting Abreu in the face with his glove. Sale came back to fan Peralta and get Mark Reynolds to fly out harmlessly to center, ending his night with a flourish.
The White Sox bullpen only needed to cover three innings, and it was up to the task. Jake Petricka overpowered the Cardinals for a 1-2-3 ninth, and Daniel Webb picked up Zach Duke after a leadoff walk to Matt Carpenter in the 10th.
He also pitched over a third mistake. Ramirez made the right move when he fielded a Jon Jay grounder and caught an indecisive Carpenter between second and third. However, he bounced his flip to Beckham at third, and while Beckham made a helluva pick to keep Carpenter from scoring, it threw the rundown out of whack, and Jay reached second on a three-throw deal.
Webb had one more batter to face with a runner in scoring position than necessary, but he got Grichuk to ground out to short to end the threat. The Cardinals went 0-for-9 in such situations.
*With the Murder Time homer, the Sale gem, and throwing his bat during a swing, this really was a complete game by Flowers.
*Sale threw 116 pitches over eight innings; Lynn threw 117 over six.
Adam Eaton went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.