In their last five games against the Twins and Indians, the White Sox powered their way to 52 runs. The Sox won their sixth straight game today with a different formula. A magnificent pitching performance by Chris Sale and a timely two-run home run by Adam Dunn proved to be the difference in the 2-1 nailbiter over the tough-to-beat-at-home Tampa Bay Rays.
Sale, who convinced the Sox brass he stay in the rotation (thank goodness), set personal and Tropicana Field strikeout marks by fanning 15 Ray batters while giving up a mere three hits (two to Ben Zobrist) in 7 1/3 innings. Rays' B.J. Upton, Sean Rodriguez and Drew Sutton all struck out three times, giving them the dubious "hat trick" distinction. Sale, now 6-2 with a 2.34 ERA, also got perfect relief help from Jesse Crain and rookie closer Addison Reed, who recorded his fifth save.
Aside from Dunn's homer which gave the Sox all the offense they needed on this day, the lineup came up with only four singles by Alejandro De Aza, Gordon Beckham (who was on base for Dunn's blast), Dayan Viciedo and Paul Konerko, whose hitting streak reached 14 on a ninth inning blooper. The truth is that if it weren't for Sale's heroics the talk would have been more about Rays' starter Matt Moore, who only gave up the two runs on four hits and struck out 10 himself.
Sox Notes of Note: The South Siders moved to five games over .500 at 27-22 and remain 1/2 game behind the Tribe, who defeated the Royals in Cleveland...Sale came up one strikeout shy of the White Sox record of 16, set in 1954 by Jack Harshman against the Red Sox...The Sox overcame two key defensive flubs. The first was a botched rundown in the fourth inning after Sale had Zobrist all but picked off. Zobrist, though, escaped Alexei Ramirez's tag at second base and scored moments later for the Rays' run. The second was a passed ball by A.J. Pierzynski, which moved the potential tying run into scoring position with only one out in the seventh. Sale pitched over it by retiring Carlos Pena on a ground ball and striking out Jose Molina...After his 1 for 4 day, Konerko is only hitting .395.
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Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, Addison Reed, Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez, B.J, Ben Zobrist, Carlos Pena, Chris Sale, Dayan Viciedo, Drew Sutton, Gordon Beckham, Indians, Jack Harshman, Jesse Crain, Jose Molina, Matt Moore, Paul Konerko, Rays, Sean Rodriguez, Twins, Upton, White Sox