CHICAGO -- Chris Sale's pitch count sat at 110 after his seventh inning during the White Sox 6-2 victory over the A's on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field.But with the White Sox ace getting an extra fifth day of rest before his next start against the Mariners, he didn't have
CHICAGO -- Chris Sale's pitch count sat at 110 after his seventh inning during the White Sox 6-2 victory over the A's on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
But with the White Sox ace getting an extra fifth day of rest before his next start against the Mariners, he didn't have to lobby manager Robin Ventura too much to pitch the eighth.
"It's definitely appreciated," Sale said. "I like doing stuff like that, going out there and finishing that inning. Keeping my guys in the bullpen."
"He was throwing great," Ventura said. "I asked him after he came out in the seventh, talked to him a little bit. He said he felt great."
Oakland's hitters probably didn't feel quite as good going against Sale.
Sale actually allowed hard contact during all four first-inning at-bats, including one-out singles from Jake Smolinski and Danny Valencia. But the All-Star induced Khris Davis' inning-ending double play, finished by a bare-hand snag and throw from second baseman Carlos Sanchez, and the A's went quietly the rest of the evening.
Sale struck out eight and fanned five straight, starting with the last out in the sixth.
"[Dioner Navarro] did a great job of mixing in and out," Sale said. "He's calling two-seamers and four-seamers, both sides of the plate. Front-door, back-door breaking ball, stuff like that. I give him the credit for all that. I felt like for the most part I was executing a lot of my pitches."
This performance produced win No. 15 for Sale, who now sits two wins away from matching a single-season career high in victories. It also was Sale's first win since July 2, ending a stretch of six starts during which the southpaw had an 0-4 record and 4.43 ERA.
"We moved some stuff around and we've done some stuff. Nothing drastic. Nothing changes, just little modifications here and there in my side sessions," Sale said. "But it was kind of getting over the hump for me. My last few times out, I haven't been as good as I've wanted to be or as good as I've needed to be.
"Coming in and getting this one after a loss, we'll fight for this series tomorrow. So it was important."
About the only thing missing for Sale was his fifth complete game of the season. At 120 pitches and eight innings, his work was done on Saturday.
"That might have been a bit of a stretch on that one," Sale said. "But I would have."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.