Last year, Chris Sale took a seven-game winning streak to the mound on the road against an AL East knuckleballer (Steven Wright). He took a liner off his person to start his night, which knocked him off track, halted the Sox' run and, ultimately, the season.
Facing a different AL East knuckleballer (R.A. Dickey) with a four-game winning streak tonight, Sale showed how the story was supposed to go. He held down the Blue Jays over eight overwhelming innings while his offense piled on runs, allowing the White Sox to continue being baseball's hottest team.
Sale allowed just four hits and two walks over his eight innings, striking out six (four of them backwards K's on backdoor sliders to right-handed hitters). The Condor did surrender a solo shot to Edwin Encarnacion, but that came well after he had flipped the switch to economy mode, as his pitch count indicates. He needed just 100 of them.
In the process, he improved both his record (5-0) and ERA (1.66). He also probably could've recorded his second complete game, but the amount of support the lineup provided made such an effort unnecessary.
As the 10 runs might indicate, this was the most complete offensive attack by the White Sox offense this season. Every starter had a hit as the Sox posted three different three-run frames.
Avisail Garcia led the charge. He hammered a Dickey knuckler out to just left of center for a solo shot in the third inning, later adding a single and a walk. He scored all three times he reached base, drove in a run on a sac fly, and had two more hits taken away from him on nice plays by the Toronto defense.
He kick-started an exceptionally productive night for the bottom of the order, as he combined with Dioner Navarro and Austin Jackson to go 7-for-11 with two homers, a double, a sac fly, two walks, six runs and six RBIs.
Jackson was the one who broke the game open in the fifth inning. The Sox loaded the bases with a single, walk, single -- and a review, as Brett Lawrie was initially ruled out at third base after putting the brakes on too late, but the replays showed that his hand beat the tag. Jackson then smoked a double to the right-center gap to bring in two, and an Adam Eaton sac fly made it a 4-0 game, which essentially put it out of reach.
Not that the Sox stopped scoring. Navarro followed Garcia's single with a two-run homer to knock Dickey out of the game, and they weren't any kinder to Joe Biagini, who gave up three singles over four batters for another run.
Adding insult to injury, Eaton took Drew Storen deep to lead off the ninth after he thought he drew a walk -- twice. Jimmy Rollins kept it going with a double, Todd Frazier drove him in with a bloop single, and eventually Frazier scored on Garcia's sac fly.
Everything made it very easy on Robin Ventura, who only had to use Zach Putnam out of the bullpen. For at least one inning, he one-upped Sale by striking out the side to end the game.