<
>

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 3, Cubs 1

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox avoided the sweep with a 3-1 victory Sunday over the Chicago Cubs, ending the season series at three games each.

How it happened: White Sox starter Chris Sale was simply dominating, recording 15 strikeouts over seven innings. White Sox pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts, a franchise record for a nine-inning game and two off the major league record. The White Sox were powered by solo home runs from Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez and Melky Cabrera. Cubs starter Dan Haren gave up all three of the home runs and gave up his three runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings. The Cubs' Jorge Soler ended the shutout bid by hitting a home run off David Robertson with two outs in the ninth inning.

What it means: Great pitching combined with power hitting isn’t a mix the White Sox have been using all that much this season. In the first half of the season the White Sox were one of the worst power-hitting teams in baseball. But their 36 second-half home runs at the start of play Sunday were the fifth best in baseball, and they have three more to add to that total. And the White Sox have been flashing all that power without the input of Adam LaRoche, one of only a few actual power sources who has struggled all season.

Outside the box: That speed bump Sale hit a few starts back is suddenly a thing of the past. The left-hander looked as good as ever in handling a potent Cubs lineup. He struck out the side twice in the first four innings and he extended his franchise records of most double digit strikeout games (29) and most games of 12 strikeouts or more (17). He also reached the 200-strikeout plateau for the third consecutive season, becoming the second White Sox pitcher to accomplish that feat (Ed Walsh).

Elite company: Sale has now joined Jake Peavy and Max Scherzer as the only active pitchers to strike out at least 15 batters in a game more than once. Sale’s first 15-strikeout game came in 2012 at Tampa Bay. Randy Johnson is the leader in 15-strikeout games with 29.

Off beat: One sign that you’re dominating the opposition is when they appear to be swinging in the dark. Take the Cubs’ Chris Denorfia to lead off the fourth inning. He swung and missed at a third strike on a pitch from Sale that actually ended up hitting him. It was one of the three innings where Sale would strike out the side, along with the first and seventh.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Carlos Rodon (5-4, 4.61 ERA) to the mound Monday at Anaheim in the opener of a four-game series. The Angels will counter with left-hander Andrew Heaney (5-1, 2.53) in the 9:05 CST start from Angel Stadium.