Top 5 pitching performances in Sox history

January 18th, 2021

CHICAGO -- Here’s a look at the top five single-game pitching performances in White Sox history, with a number of incredibly strong showings just missing the list.

1. , April 21, 2012, at Mariners
Humber’s perfect game is one of three recorded in White Sox history. His closest moment to losing perfection came during the last at-bat of the game via Brendan Ryan’s attempted check swing on a 3-2 pitch, with Ryan briefly arguing the call while catcher A.J. Pierzynski retrieved the dropped third strike and threw Ryan out at first for the 27th and final out of the game. Humber’s game score of 96 rates as one of the highest in franchise history, striking out nine during the 96-pitch effort.

The right-hander posted a 7.39 ERA in 24 games (14 starts) over the rest of the 2012 season with the White Sox. Humber, who was the No. 3 overall pick of the Mets in the 2004 Draft, made 17 appearances for the Astros in ’13, finishing his career with a 16-23 record, a 5.31 ERA and one major piece of history.

2. , July 23, 2009, vs. Rays
This Thursday afternoon performance at home, which helped push the White Sox into a first-place tie with the Tigers in the American League Central, was quintessential Buehrle. The southpaw struck out six in a perfect game that took a snappy 2 hours and 3 minutes to complete.

With one out in the ninth, Buehrle threw a 3-2 changeup to Michel Hernandez and struck him out swinging, before Jason Bartlett grounded out to shortstop Alexei Ramirez to start the celebration, eventually leading to a phone conversation with President Barack Obama. These final two moments don’t define perfection without Dewayne Wise’s spectacular, over-the-fence, home-run robbing catch of Gabe Kapler’s long fly ball to open the ninth.

3. Chris Sale, Aug. 16, 2015, vs. Cubs
Sale has never thrown a no-hitter, but he’s clearly one of the most overpowering pitchers in White Sox history. There could be a top-five list of single-game White Sox performances from Sale alone.

But this 15-strikeout start against the Cubs, which lasted seven innings and 116 pitches, rates as Sale’s No. 1. The left-hander held the Cubs hitless for 5 1/3 innings, until Dexter Fowler lined a clean single to left. The Cubs loaded the bases in the sixth with two outs, before Jorge Soler took a called third strike. Kris Bryant, who won the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year Award and was the ’16 NL Most Valuable Player, struck out in all three of his at-bats against Sale, who finished his outing by striking out the side in the seventh.

4. Charlie Robertson, April 30, 1922, at Detroit
The right-hander finished his career with a 49-80 record and a 4.44 ERA over 166 games, and he went 39-56 with a 4.17 ERA in five seasons with the White Sox. But in his fourth appearance of the 1922 season, Robertson was perfect in a 2-0 victory. He struck out six and retired all 27 Tigers batters in a game lasting 1 hour, 55 minutes, finishing with a game score of 93.

5. , Sept. 30, 2008, vs. Twins
Some White Sox fans list the AL Central tiebreaker at home, known as the "Blackout Game," as the most exciting contest in franchise history. And Danks played a major role in that 1-0 victory, throwing eight scoreless innings. The left-hander struck out four, walked three and yielded two hits, lowering his ERA to 3.32 over 33 starts during his second big league season.

Honorable Mentions

Lucas Giolito, Aug. 25, 2020, vs. Pirates
Giolito struck out 13 and issued only one walk (to Erik Gonzalez leading off the fourth) during the 19th no-hitter thrown in franchise history. Giolito’s road shutouts of the Twins and Astros in ’19 also deserve consideration.

Mark Buehrle, April 18, 2007, vs. Rangers
Sammy Sosa’s fifth-inning walk was the only baserunner for Texas during Buehrle’s first career no-hitter, and Sosa was promptly picked off first base. Buehrle struck out eight.

The 2005 AL Championship Series
Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras threw four straight complete games in Games 2-5 against the Angels as the White Sox advanced to the World Series, a pitching accomplishment possibly never seen again with the way bullpens are now employed. Contreras threw 8 1/3 innings during a Game 1 loss.

Wilson Alvarez, Aug. 11, 1991, at Orioles
Alvarez’s first career appearance with the White Sox resulted in a no-hitter. He struck out seven and walked five in the 128-pitch start.

Gary Peters, July 15, 1963, vs. Orioles
Robin Roberts’ third-inning single prevented Peters from throwing a perfect game. Peters struck out 13 and finished with a game score of 98.

Lucas Giolito, Sept. 29, 2020, at A's
Giolito retired the first 18 batters he faced before Tommy La Stella singled to start the seventh in the White Sox first postseason game since 2008. The right-hander struck out eight and gave up one run on two hits over seven-plus innings as Chicago won Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series.

Ed Walsh, Aug. 11, 1910, vs. Red Sox
Walsh struck out 15, walked two and yielded three hits in a complete-game shutout.

Zach Stewart, Sept. 5, 2011 (Game 2), at Twins
Stewart, who made only 14 career starts, carried a perfect game into the eighth at Minnesota when Danny Valencia doubled to right. That was the only baserunner allowed by Stewart, who struck out nine.

Britt Burns, Oct. 8, 1983, vs. Orioles
The southpaw started with 9 1/3 scoreless innings in the deciding Game 4 of the ALCS, before allowing Tito Landrum’s solo home run in the 10th as Baltimore won, 3-0. Burns struck out eight, walked five and allowed only the one run while throwing 150 pitches.

Chris Sale, May 28, 2012, at Rays
Adam Dunn’s two-run homer off Matt Moore in the sixth made the White Sox a 2-1 winner, supporting Sale’s 15-strikeout performance. Sale walked two and allowed three hits over 7 1/3 innings.

Reynaldo López, Sept. 5, 2019, at Indians
Kevin Plawecki’s two-out double in the second over the head of Ryan Goins, an infielder playing right field, prevented López from throwing a no-hitter in Cleveland. López fanned 11 in the complete-game one-hitter.

Freddy Garcia, Aug. 23, 2005, at Twins
Garcia carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning at the Metrodome, before Jacque Jones opened the frame with a home run in this 1-0 loss. Johan Santana earned the victory during this duel, in which Garcia yielded only one hit in eight innings.

Jack Harshman, July 25, 1954 (Game 1), at Red Sox
The White Sox single-game strikeout record of 16 was set by Harshman in this victory at Fenway Park.

Floyd Bannister, Sept. 13, 1987, at Mariners
Bannister faced the minimum 27 batters, striking out 10. He only allowed a two-out single to Harold Reynolds in the third, only to have Gary Redus throw him out at second.