Sale logs double-digit strikeouts for 12th time
White Sox dominant ace makes just one mistake in Friday's win
SEATTLE -- For the better part of seven innings in the White Sox's 11-4 win over the Mariners on Friday night, Seattle's only offensive production against Chris Sale was aided by a poor route from Avisail Garcia.
The White Sox right fielder attempted to catch a Ketel Marte line drive to right over his shoulder, but the ball popped out of his glove, giving Marte a double to lead off the bottom of the first. Sale picked up his teammate for nearly the length of his start, not allowing another hit until the seventh inning.
In a 14-strikeout gem, he, too, made just one mistake, allowing a three-run homer to Mark Trumbo on a 2-0 changeup he left up in the zone with one out in the seventh.
"That ball traveled a good mile. Changeup," Sale said. "Just went to it one too many times and he put a pretty good swing on it, and that's what he does. He's a big strong guy."
Aside from Trumbo's opposite-field blast, which made it a 4-3 ballgame, Sale dominated, posting double-digit strikeouts for the 30th time in his career and the 12th time this season, building on his own franchise records. He used three pitches effectively to keep Seattle's left-handed hitters off balance throughout.
"I felt pretty good. Felt like I had pretty command of my changeup, I was able to throw that early on and get it in there for a strike. I feel like my slider has been getting a little better over the last few starts," Sale said.
Sale's victory also came in a game that was billed as a pitchers' duel, with Felix Hernandez taking the mound for the Mariners. The King bounced back well from a rough outing in Boston to hold the White Sox scoreless for the first three innings, but runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth gave Sale a four-run cushion. It was all he needed.
"He was matching Felix," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Sale. "I thought both of them were throwing great and we were chipping away there trying to get one at a time and you know we were able to get a few [off Hernandez]."
Sale, who has struck out 29 hitters in his last two starts to bring his season total to a league-leading 222, finished his night with one three-run blemish against him. But he responded like he had all night, striking out Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero to record eight of his final nine outs via strikeout.
"Definitely knew the ball was going to be coming in faster," Flowers said. "I think all your great pitchers, that's what they do, they turn it up a notch when they need to. In big situations, find a way to execute pitches, always have a little bit left in the tank."