Chris Sale hadn’t picked up a victory since July 2. The White Sox hadn’t won a game by more than three runs since July 19.
Both streaks came to an end tonight, even though David Robertson still had to pitch in this one because the Sox are prohibited by law from making baseball look easy.
Sale pitched eight shutout innings while Oakland starter Ross Detwiler couldn’t even post one zero. The 6-0 cushion came in handy in the ninth, as Robertson entered with Nate Jones’ runners on first and second and one out. He kept the tying run confined to the on-deck circle, but only after Adam Eaton made a running catch on the warning track for the final out.
But let’s talk about the Condor. He reestablished his Cy Young credentials with one of his finest starts of the season, limiting the Athletics to three hits and three walks over eight innings, striking out eight. He allowed two of those hits in the first, but a 6-4-3 double play extracted him from the jam.
He needed a few innings to truly find a groove, but he never faced a tougher situation, and he cruised through the second half of his outing. He ended his evening by retiring 15 of the last 16 he faced, including four consecutive strikeouts over the seventh and eighth innings. The final inning seemed slightly unnecessary, as he wrapped up seven innings in 110 pitches, but he cruised through a 10-pitch eighth, and gets an extra day of rest before his next start.
The offense had itself a satisfying night, too, tormenting Detwiler with two strikes and two outs.
First inning: Jose Abreu, with his son in attendance, drills an opposite-field line drive off the tip of Brett Eibner’s glove and into the bullpen bar for a solo shot.
Second inning: Jason Coats, Dioner Navarro (2-2 count), Carlos Sanchez (0-2) and Tim Anderson (1-2) all single with two outs. Sanchez drove in Coats, and Anderson scored Navarro.
Third inning: Abreu and Cabrera combine for a pair of doubles to start the inning for one run, and Coats scores Cabrera with a soft grounder for a 5-0 lead.
Fourth inning: Eaton keeps the inning alive with an infield single, moves to second on a walk to Abreu, and scores when Cabrera shoots a single to right.
Once Detwiler left, so did the Sox offense, but it was enough for a relatively easy night. Nate Jones brought back visions of Kansas City by giving up a solo shot to Danny Valencia and a one-out single to Ryon Healy, and Sanchez compounded problems by throwing high and wide to Anderson a force attempt at second that was challenged and reversed. Eibner chased Jones with a single to right, but Robertson came in and retired both guys he faced.
*The White Sox were 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
*Abreu’s strong August continues, as he went 2-for-3 with the homer, double and walk.
*Sale is now 15-6 and lowered his ERA to 3.15.
*Coats preceded his run by going first to third rather ungracefully.
Such a shame. You see a guy dedicate the last four years of his life for today, and then this happens. pic.twitter.com/91p7yPWKOR— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) August 21, 2016