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Sale throws six shutout innings vs. Reds

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale was on top of his game Monday, pitching six shutout innings and allowing only two hits in the Chicago White Sox's 1-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Sale, who had struggled with his breaking ball command in his first two spring outings, used a Chicago-like 50-degree day to his advantage against a lineup that included All-Stars Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen and Joey Votto.

“This was without question my best outing of the spring, just found a groove and kept going with it,” Sale said.

Sale, who pitched out of the bullpen for the Sox last season, had looked a little out of sync while trying to regain his form as a starter early in camp.

“I wasn’t trying to throw the nastiest breaking ball I ever had thrown or get up to 100 mph,” Sale said. “I was just calm, cool and collected. It was just go out there and make pitches instead of trying to do something I am not capable of doing.”

The young left-hander will most likely be the fifth starter in manager Robin Ventura’s rotation.

“The off-speed stuff really helped me today,” Sale said. “I was able to throw it for strikes up or down in the count.”

Sale said the cool Arizona day didn’t affect his performance.

“I don’t think [the weather] was really an issue,” Sale said. “If it is scolding hot or freezing cold, you go out and pitch.”

Sale’s pitching line was impressive -- six innings allowing just two hits while striking out six, including 2010 National League MVP Votto.

“I don’t think he is a very comfortable at bat for a lot of lefties,” Ventura said. “He’s done that to quite a few lefties so far. [Sale] was not feeling that great today and I guess we want to have him feel that way every time he goes out there. He had velocity and control -- that’s what you expect to see out of him.”