TORONTO -- Chris Sale went head-to-head against one of baseball's toughest lineups on Tuesday and passed the test with flying colors in the White Sox 10-1 win over the Blue Jays. The Sox ace picked up his Major League-leading fifth win of the season with eight strong innings.Sale specifically had
TORONTO -- Chris Sale went head-to-head against one of baseball's toughest lineups on Tuesday and passed the test with flying colors in the White Sox 10-1 win over the Blue Jays. The Sox ace picked up his Major League-leading fifth win of the season with eight strong innings.
Sale specifically had struggled in the past against Toronto's revered middle-of-the-order bats. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion came into the game a combined 8-for-24 against the White Sox ace with two home runs and seven runs driven in, but they struggled to a 1-for-9 performance, with Encarnacion's seventh-inning home run the only blemish.
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Sale relied on a combination of pitching to contact and moving the ball through the zone to give a different look to the Blue Jays, recording only one of his six strikeouts on the night against the trio of power hitters. The Lakeland, Fla., native had a stretch of 13 straight retired batters from the third to the seventh innings, locking in before allowing his first earned run in 22 innings. White Sox manager Robin Ventura was quick to point out that Sale's maturity and growth as a pitcher this year have enabled him to attack power hitters like Toronto's in a more methodical manner.
"I think he's more mature in that he knows he doesn't have to go out there and strike everybody out," Ventura said. "He can do it if he needs to, but when you see him go out there, you don't see the same guy who's trying to strike everybody out. You see him using both sides of the plate, throwing strikes, getting ahead and if they want to swing at the early one and pop it up, he's letting them do it."
Sale also credited his catcher, Dioner Navarro, who spent the past two years in Toronto, for helping him game plan against the Blue Jays and keep the ball away from their hitting plane. Navarro's knack for strategy has been one of the major keys to the success of the White Sox pitching staff this season, and he helped Sale navigate through Toronto's big hitters.
"He's been around a long time, so I just trust what he's doing," Sale said. "He knows these hitters better than anybody, so I was just feeding off of him and what he's doing, and the energy the ballclub is bringing is awesome."
*Alykhan Ravjiani * is a reporter for MLB.com from Toronto.