Jones follows Sale by setting club K mark
Pair combines for 18 strikeouts to set nine-inning record
CHICAGO -- Nate Jones always can look back on Aug. 16, 2015, and remember the game in which he combined with Chris Sale to strike out 18 Cubs in a 3-1 White Sox victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
Those 18 strikeouts are the most in any nine-inning Major League game since the Angels struck out 20 against Seattle on Sept. 25, 2012. They also stand as the most all-time in a nine-inning game for the White Sox, who struck out 19 over 16 innings against the Mariners on June 5, 2013.
"It was a tough act to follow. It was awesome to watch," said Jones, focusing on Sale's career-high-tying 15 strikeouts, which he also did on May 28, 2012, against the Rays. "It just shows you how dominant he is and can be and to put an end to our little losing streak and their winning streak. It speaks to the true ace he is. He can be that guy, he can be that stopper for us."
Jones hasn't been too bad either since coming back from an injury rehab assignment that followed a microdiscectomy on his back and Tommy John surgery during a forgettable 2014 campaign. In 2015, Jones has allowed one hit over 4 1/3 innings while striking out seven.
And while Jones' strikeouts against the 67-49 Cubs only included Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler and Chris Coghlan, Sale had just as much praise for his Sunday relief.
"I love watching him pitch. I've said that for a while now," said Sale, who combined with Jones for 15 swinging strikeouts. "Seeing the obstacles he's had to come over and the way he has handled it the whole time, he has never deviated from the script. He put his head down and he worked hard.
"What he's gone through, a lot of people could get down. But it's fun watching him pitch. You appreciate it a little bit more when it comes from him because of what he's done and how he's done it."