Two undefeated pitchers entered. One left with his 1.000 winning percentage intact, but it wasn't the one you might expect.
Chris Sale's perfect season came to an unceremonious end, as he lasted just 3⅓ inning. He was due for an off night, but the shape of this one was surprising. He had a 1-0 lead with the bases empty and two outs in the third ... and by the time he could get the third out, he trailed 3-1.
Jose Ramirez, who won a 10-pitch battle against Matt Albers in Game 1 on Monday, won another one against Sale by drawing a walk to extend the third. Francisco Lindor followed with a single, after which Mike Napoli drove a ball to the left-center gap just out of the reach of Austin Jackson. Melky Cabrera bobbled the ball on the track, but it still counted as a two-run triple.
(Tigers fans told me that Jackson never leaves his feet. Often times it's overrated, but he could've used a diving attempt there.)
Sale's work wasn't over. Carlos Santana walked on seven pitches, and then Juan Uribe dropped a single just over the outstretched glove of Brett Lawrie on the ninth pitch of his at-bat, scoring Napoli. Marlon Byrd finally struck out to end the inning, but not until Sale threw his 43rd pitch.
There wasn't any hope on the other side. Chris Gimenez hit the second pitch of the fourth inning well out to left for a solo shot, and after a strikeout, Sale walked two consecutive batters. The first, Rajai Davis, ended up going to third on the second walk because Alex Avila was caught casually pursuing a wild pitch ball four. Lindor then singled to score Davis, and that was it for Sale after 89 pitches.
Sale showed some strange things leading to his strange line. He was throwing 97 in the first inning, which wasn't what he'd been doing with this energy-efficient approach. His control wasn't there, and he resumed throwing two-seamers to little effect. The Indians did their heaviest damage on it, as Napoli's triple and Gimenez's homer were both on 90-mph sinkers up.
Trailing 6-1 against the 6-0 Josh Tomlin, the Sox tried to get back into it. Jose Abreu and Brett Lawrie smoked consecutive doubles to the left-center gap for a run in the fourth. That momentum came crashing to a halt when Lawrie started to third on an Avisail Garcia grounder in front of him, and was cut down on a one-throw rundown. Making matters worse, Garcia strayed too far off first, and Juan Uribe threw behind him for the 6-5-3 double play.
Tomlin had the game on lock after that, keeping the bases clean through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. He ended up throwing eight innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six.
*A couple bright points -- Adam Eaton hit his third homer of the season, and Abreu had a three-hit night, including a pair of doubles.
*The front end of the eight-man bullpen did its job. Zach Putnam allowed one of two inherited runners to score on a sac fly, but allowed no runs of his own over 1⅔ innings. Tommy Kahnle pitched a scoreless inning, and Matt Purke added two himself.
Record: 27-20 | Box score | Highlights