CHICAGO -- After receiving the least amount of offensive run support per start (2.57) of any rotation pitcher in baseball this season, Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale's ship came in on Monday evening. Chicago scored six runs for the left-handed pitcher, who went the distance for his eighth victory.
The game started out like so many this season with the Sox falling behind early. Miguel Cabrera homered to right field in the first inning. In his previous start against Detroit Sale had been forced by Sox manager Robin Ventura to walk Cabrera, which was tough for the young pitcher to come to grips with.
“He is a big strong guy,” Sale said. “With him if you miss by an inch he will make you pay and he did. That is why he is the best hitter in the league and maybe of all time.”
Sale was able to get through the Detroit lineup until the sixth when Cabrera and Price Fielder led off the frame with base hits. Victor Martinez, who had eight hits in nine at-bats lifetime against Sale drove a ball deep into the hole between shortstop and third base. Alexei Ramirez made a fine stop and off-balance throw to third baseman Jeff Keppinger, who dropped the ball but then picked it up in time to force Cabrera.
“I thought Martinez was 10-for-9 against me,” Sale joked. “I just knew I had to bear down. The inning after you score are shut-down innings. You just have to somehow come out of those innings clean.”
Sale did just that and more, throwing his first complete game win since May 12. He now has back-to-back victories for the first time since May 12 and May 17.
“We wish we could get him a better record than he has right now,” said Gordon Beckham, who had three hits in support of Sale. “His numbers match up with everybody (with more wins). Hopefully we can win a lot of games for going down the stretch for him.”
Sale had heard about bad times for former Sox ace Mark Buehrle, who started one season 1-9. One never knows how a young pitcher will react to continued adversity that he doesn’t control.
“It can be frustrating,” Ventura said. “I don’t think that will define anything for what he does in the future. That is just part of playing the game. Any pitcher who plays long enough will go through a period like this. I just think it will make him stronger to have gone through it this early in his career.”
Sale had gone 2-9 in his previous 12 starts with a 2.95 ERA. He received just 17 total runs of support (2.11 per game).