NEW YORK -- Chris Sale exchanged high-fives with teammates after becoming the major leagues' first eight-game winner and had just put on a headset for a live television interview when Chicago White Sox teammate Avisail Garcia emptied a Gatorade cooler over his head.
"It was water. It wasn't sticky," Sale said with a smile.
That was almost the hardest contact made on him all night.
Sale worked quickly and efficiently in a six-hitter Friday that led Chicago over the New York Yankees 7-1. Sale (8-0) became only the fourth White Sox pitcher to win his opening eight starts, the first since Jon Garland in 2005. He is the first in the major leagues since Arizona's Brandon Webb started 9-0 in 2008.
"That's really the new him," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "This is a different guy. He could strike people out, but I think you're seeing a more effective guy that can go deeper into games. I think the last couple years he probably wouldn't be able to do this."
Chicago went ahead 3-0 in the second and opened a 7-1 lead in the third against Luis Severino (0-6), who tied Minnesota's Phil Hughes for the big league lead in losses. Jose Abreu hit a two-run single in the second and Jimmy Rollins sent a two-run homer into the right-field second deck in the third.
Sale struck out six and walked none, retiring 15 consecutive batters from the fourth through the eighth innings. He did not throw more than 15 pitches in an inning and tossed a season-low 99 pitches in all. New York's only run scored on Chase Headley's second-inning homer.
Last year, Sale led the AL with 274 strikeouts in going 13-11 for a White Sox team that went 76-86.
"They don't want to get to two strikes," he said of batters. "All the hype last year with all the strikeouts and stuff, I think they're trying to stay away from getting two strikes on them."
Sale lowered his ERA to 1.67. The complete game was the 10th of Sale's career and second this season. He has allowed six runs in his last six starts.
"I think where we were at in the last couple of years -- offensively we struggled and defensively we struggled -- I don't think it's out of the realm that he went out there trying to basically strike everybody out," Ventura said. "He felt like he had to do that to win."
Chicago held spring training discussions with Sale about getting outs earlier in counts.
"Yeah, he could strike guys out," catcher Alex Avila said. "If you want him to take that next step to being that ace, going out there for that seventh, eighth, ninth inning is huge."
Overshadowed in Chicago by the Cubs and their big league-leading 26-8 start, the White Sox improved the AL's top record to 24-12, their best after 36 games since 2006.
Severino allowed seven hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings as his ERA rose to 7.46. The Yankees sent him for an MRI and said he will go on the disabled list Saturday with a mild right triceps strain.
"I think if it was an ongoing issue, you wouldn't have seen 97 (mph) tonight," New York manager Joe Girardi said before the diagnosis was announced. "So I think whatever popped up was new today. But it's a concern. When someone leaves a game because of something in their elbow, you're really concerned."
In addition to Sale and Garland, Eddie Cicotte won his first 12 starts in 1919 and John Whitehead won his first eight in 1935.
Avila's run-scoring double in the second was his first RBI in 33 at-bats this season.
BUILDING THE LEAD
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