During their recent nine-game winning streak and surge to the top of the A.L. Central, the White Sox have shown that they have two important qualities that define a contending team--it's been a team effort with everyone contributing and they're rarely out of a ballgame.
Of all the contributions that have been made this season from the likes of Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham, Alex Rios, A.J. Pierzynski, Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro DeAza, Jake Peavy and Addison Reed, perhaps the most enjoyable development of all has been the emergence of Chris Sale as one of the league's premier starters. And very few pitchers are as exciting to watch.
Following his electric 15-strikeout performance last week against the Rays, which helped earned him A.L. Pitcher of the Month honors for May, Sale was outstanding again today. He went the distance for the first time in his career, allowing only two runs and five hits along with eight strikeouts as the Sox got back on the winning track with a 4-2 victory over the Mariners, giving them 10 wins in their last 11 games and 13 of the last 15. Sale, a bonfide All-Star candidate, is now 7-2 with a 2.29 ERA.
Sox Notes of Note: With Sale on the mound, the Sox didn't need a whole lot of offense, but they got what they needed. Rios had a pair of run scoring singles, Beckham singled in a run and Brent Lillibridge got credit for an RBI when he walked with the bases loaded...The South Siders were able to win the rubber game of the series without Konerko, Pierzynski and De Aza in today's lineup...Sale's complete game was a godsend for the bullpen as the White Sox used nine pitchers in yesterday's extra-inning affair. With tomorrow's day off, the pen should be well rested when the Blue Jays come to town on Tuesday...With Sale winning Pitcher of the Month honors, in his first year as a starter, the Pale Hose hold the distinction of having the league's best pitcher for each of the first two months of the season as Peavy was named the best in April...The Sox are now 31-23 and as a result of the Twins' victory over the Indians now enjoy a 2 1/2 game lead over Cleveland.