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Sale moves from national stage back to local

CHICAGO -- When the Tigers visit the White Sox for the first time during the 2013 season Monday, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale, the first two pitchers from the American League's All-Star victory Tuesday, will be on the mound.

Sale enjoyed his second All-Star appearance as much as his first one in 2012, but seeing Mariano Rivera's final inning in the Midsummer Classic gave this trip to New York a little extra meaning.

"Hearing the music start, seeing him run in and warming up on the field and watching him out there was the coolest thing … by far," said a smiling Sale of Rivera working a scoreless eighth Tuesday.

Rivera earned Most Valuable Player honors, but Sale also stood as a deserving selection. He threw two scoreless innings, striking out National League home run leader Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki among the six straight he set down.

That effort put the 24-year-old more so on the national stage than his breakout 17-win performance from '12 and his continued '13 dominance already had. The White Sox even have made him the focus of a marketing campaign to bring fans out to specifically watch him in action.

Ultimately, Tuesday became just another step toward overall excellence, although an extremely fun one for Sale, his family and the White Sox organization.

"Any time you have success on the mound, whether it be in the game or on a bullpen, you build confidence from that," Sale said. "I would like to use that going forward."

"From last year to this year, he's just gotten better, more mature and understands what it takes to go through the season as a starter instead of being out in the bullpen," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Sale. "You hear guys on other teams who face him all the time -- their reaction to him -- it matches up pretty well with what we see and what they feel when they're up there."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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