CHICAGO -- Chris Sale knew he wasn't going the distance. Even so, he felt a sense of relief when he finally gave up that hit -- the only one he allowed.
The left-hander retired the first 17 hitters after missing more than a month because of a flexor strain in his pitching arm, and Chicago hung on after New York's Mark Teixeira singled in two runs against Ronald Belisario in the ninth.
The White Sox couldn't have asked for more of their ace.
An All-Star the past two seasons, Sale (4-0) struck out 10 and didn't even come close to allowing a runner until Zoilo Almonte -- a .167 hitter entering the game -- lined a single to center with two out in the sixth.
Sale then struck out Jacoby Ellsbury and called it a night after throwing 86 pitches.
"I don't think I was ever more excited to give up a hit in my life," Sale said. "(Manager Robin Ventura) said the same thing: 'You picked a bad night to do something like that.' It was all in fun; we were just joking around."
Sale would have been finished after six, perfect game or not. The White Sox weren't about to stretch their best pitcher after about a five-week layoff, and he insisted he would not have lobbied to stay in even if it was still going.
"We have a plan," Sale said. "We have something set in stone. I pitch to win. I don't pitch for no-hitters or perfect games. I would have fully understood. I wouldn't have liked it, but do I respect it? Absolutely."
He gave up a one-out single to pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki and walked Derek Jeter. After the runners moved up on a passed ball, Teixeira drove them in with a single up the middle. Belisario then struck out Alfonso Soriano looking at a 3-2 pitch up and in for his second save in three attempts.
"I know the umpire, they have a tough job, it's not easy being an umpire," Soriano said. "That ball is up and in. I never said anything to the umpire, but that pitch is a ball."
He said he saw a replay and added: "It's a bad call, but nothing you can do."
David Phelps (1-1) was a tough-luck loser for New York, allowing two runs over seven innings. He struck out eight and walked one. But one rough inning was the difference.
The White Sox scored two with two out in the second on an RBI double by Alejandro De Aza and a run-scoring single by Adam Eaton to go up 2-0. Chicago added to the lead in the eighth, when Gordon Beckham led off with a double high off the right-field wall against Alfredo Aceves and scored on Adam Dunn's two-out single, and that was enough for the win.
Sale had the Yankees lunging and looking at pitches on the corner and at the knees, doing everything but make solid contact. He struck out the side in the first and third innings along with the first two batters in the fourth -- not bad for a guy who hadn't pitched since April 17.
In that game, Sale tossed one-hit ball over seven innings against Boston. He felt sore the next day after throwing 127 pitches and wound up going on the disabled list April 22.
"I don't think there's anybody he can go up against where we feel like we're behind the eight ball going in or we're the underdogs," Paul Konerko said. "There's definitely some pitchers in the league that have the same type of ring to their name and the same type of makeup and stuff. But we're just fortunate we've got one of them."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said RHP Michael Pineda, recovering from a back injury, will throw to hitters Saturday. "He's progressing like we want," Girardi said. "Everything's going according to plan." Pineda was suspended 10 days for having pine tar on his neck in a game at Boston and then injured a muscle in his upper back pitching a simulated game April 29, during his ban. ... Girardi also said he thinks reliever Shawn Kelley will "try to do something next week." The right-hander had a setback in his recovery from a back injury when he woke up feeling stiff Tuesday after playing catch at Yankee Stadium the previous day.
St. Louis Cardinals' season pretty much ended with one disastrous inning
Nothing has gone right for St. Louis in the NLCS, but things really fell apart in the third inning of Game 3, as the Nationals put a hammerlock on the series.
Zimmerman: Pitching has been the Nats' key all season
Ryan Zimmerman credits the pitching for being the backbone of the team, and playing one game at a time has been the mindset.
Strasburg Ks 12, Nats top Cards 8-1; 1 win from World Series
Stephen Strasburg took his turn silencing the Cardinals' struggling bats, Nationals postseason star Howie Kendrick doubled three times and drove in three more runs, and Washington moved one win from the city's first World Series appearance in 86 years...
Soto's slip leads to DeJong's RBI
Paul DeJong hits an RBI single to left field in which Juan Soto slips and falls trying to make a throw as Jose Martinez reaches home to score the Cardinals' first run of the game.
Robles smashes solo homer in the 6th
Victor Robles clobbers a solo home run to right center field in the sixth inning to give the Nationals a 7-0 lead over the Cardinals in Game 3.
Rendon makes diving stop for the web gem
Anthony Rendon stretches out to snatch up a hard grounder and makes the throw to first base to record the out.