Sale fans 14 in dominant outing vs. Astros
CHICAGO -- White Sox left-hander Chris Sale struck out 14 over eight innings of one-run ball to earn his 50th career victory in a 3-1 White Sox win over the Astros on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
The loss extends Houston's season-high losing streak to five games.
Sale's 14-strikeout performance was his third consecutive game with at least 12 strikeouts. He is the first hurler in White Sox history to post such a streak and the first Major Leaguer to do so since Randy Johnson turned in three straight such games in July 2001.
Sale is now 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA and 67 strikeouts and just seven walks in his last six starts.
"I try to just come in every day and do my job," Sale said. "If it's good, it's good. If it's bad, it's bad. Just go out there and give it everything I've got."
Sale's lone blemish Monday came at the hands of Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, who made his Major League debut. Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, plated Jonathan Villar with an RBI infield single in the fourth inning for his first Major League hit and RBI. Correa finished 1-for-3.
Sale's gem overshadowed another strong outing for Astros rookie right-hander Lance McCullers, who struck out seven. McCullers allowed an RBI single to Melky Cabrera and a two-run homer to Avisail Garcia over seven innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sale-ing along: Sale struck out the final two batters he faced in the eighth inning. He finished with a season-high 14 strikeouts and has recorded double digits in four straight games and five of six. With runners on second and third and none out in the fourth, he avoided a potential big inning by striking out Evan Gattis and Chris Carter. He did give up a run that inning, but it could have been much worse without the strikeouts. More >
Welcome to The Show: Correa checked off his first career hit and RBI at the same time in Monday's game, with a tip of the cap to modern technology. With two on and two out in the fourth inning, Correa grounded a 1-0 offering to shortstop and was initially called out by first-base umpire Larry Vanover. The Astros challenged and the call was quickly overturned. More >
Answering back: After the Astros tied the game at 1 in the top of the fourth, the White Sox struck right back in the bottom of the inning. Jose Abreu snuck a grounder just past Correa at shortstop and one out later, Garcia stroked a two-run shot to right field for a 3-1 lead.
"It's huge," Sale said of the homer. "I think that was probably the most important play of the game, really. He's been hot lately, and it's been fun to watch."
Overshadowed: Not many can keep up with Sale, but McCullers gave it a valiant effort for much of Monday night when he tied an Astros record by recording at least five strikeouts in his first five career starts. McCullers' 36 strikeouts are tied for the most ever by an Astros pitcher though his first five games (Tom Griffin, 1969).
"We just really couldn't solve Sale.That night was all about Chris Sale. He did everything you'd expect him to do as a pitcher of his magnitude." -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch
Sale had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 22 2/3 innings when Correa beat a throw from shortstop Alexei Ramirez for his first Major League hit in the fourth, scoring Villar from third base.
Correa and McCullers will forever be linked because they were taken in the same Draft. In fact, it was the Astros' signing of Correa to a below-slot deal that enabled Houston to draft McCullers with the 41st pick and sign him to an over-slot contract.
The two have since become friends while working their way up the Astros' system.
"When we found out when we landed yesterday, I was pretty excited I was the guy who got to start during his big league debut," McCullers said. "He's just been a close friend of mine and someone that we're hopefully going to grow with with this organization. It felt awesome to be out there with him."
Astros: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (7-1, 1.85 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT as the Astros look to snap their losing streak. Keuchel tossed a four-hit shutout against the White Sox on May 30 in Houston, striking out a career-high 11 while walking none.
White Sox: Carlos Rodon (1-0, 3.12 ERA) gets the call for Chicago in the second game of the series. The left-hander is 0-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last three starts and had a career-high 10 strikeouts in his last start at the Rangers.
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.