Normally, if Chris Sale threw seven shutout innings while squaring off against Rick Porcello, you'd have to like the White Sox' chances.
Not so tonight. Porcelo, who entered the game with a 5.81 ERA, matched Sale with seven shutout innings of his own to push the game to the bullpens. Nate Jones gave up his first runs of the season on a two-run blast by Travis Shaw, and the Red Sox added one in the ninth to put away the game and the series.
Sale wasn't his sharpest. He left the bases loaded in the third and stranded two more runners in the fourth, which put his pitch count on an inflated course. He settled down to get through seven, allowing just five singles, two walks and a hit batter while striking out seven. Those strikeouts allowed him to set a new personal best -- as well as a new White Sox modern-day record -- with 229.
But the White Sox offense couldn't do anything for him. Porcello went right through the Chicago lineup in order the first three innings, then foiled threats in the middle innings.
Adam LaRoche led off the fifth with his 20th double, then moved to third on a grounder to third with a canny bit of baserunning. The Sox couldn't score him with their two outs remaining, even though Carlos Sanchez did manage a single (a weak grounder to the right side on which Porcello didn't cover). Tyler Flowers hit a shallow flyout to right, and Tyler Saladino's weak grounder to second was too strong for an infield single, ending the inning.
An inning later, Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera tied together one-out singles, but Avisail Garcia struck out on three fastballs and LaRoche flied out. The White Sox only had one chance in scoring position after that, and that was courtesy of defensive indifference during the last at-bat of the game.
The Red Sox only outhit the White Sox 7-6, but Hart's really counted. With a runner on first and two outs, he turned on Jones' first-pitch fastball down and in and cranked it inside the foul pole to right. The only question was whether it would hook foul, but he hit it too hard.