Flowers sends Sox past Cards on Sale's night
ST. LOUIS -- The White Sox capped a history-making night by starter Chris Sale with an 11-inning, 2-1 win to open a two-game set against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. Tyler Flowers' two-out solo homer off reliever Miguel Socolovich in the deciding frame snapped a string of seven scoreless innings by the White Sox offense and put an end to St. Louis' six-game winning streak.
The loss was just the second suffered by the Cardinals at home this month and spoiled their quest for the first 10-game winning streak at Busch Stadium III.
Neither starter factored in the decision, but with his sixth-inning strikeout of Jhonny Peralta, Sale joined soon-to-be Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers in Major League history to strike out at least 10 batters in eight straight games. Sale finished with 12 (all swinging) over eight innings. He scored his club's first run, too, after tallying his first Major League hit in the third.
"Obviously he's been good all season," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Sale. "He's on a strong roll right now, and we couldn't do a lot to change that, except [Randal Grichuk] getting the barrel to it. We didn't have that many opportunities, and right there late, they just got that big hit, the decider."
"Yeah, it's just hard to keep finding adjectives for him. He's great," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Sale. "Again, the numbers he's piling up and the people that he keeps getting grouped in with and come up when you mention his name. They are some of the greatest pitchers that have ever played our game. It's hard to come up with stuff that he's in that category."
Lance Lynn needed 117 pitches to finish six innings, but exited with the game tied at 1, largely because of his ability to limit the White Sox to one hit in six chances with a runner in scoring position. Lynn retired eight of the final nine batters he faced. Four relievers followed with scoreless appearances before Socolovich's mistake to Flowers.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bullpen blip: The Cardinals finished June with a Major League-best bullpen ERA of 1.52, but had a costly slip up on Tuesday. Socolovich, pitching for the first time since June 21, retired the first two batters he faced in the 11th before leaving a fastball over the plate to Flowers. Flowers didn't miss, connecting for his sixth home run of the year.
"I tip my hat, because it was the pitch that I wanted to throw," Socolovich said afterward. "I wanted to go off, but I think I left it on the plate. He put a good swing on it." More >
Every run matters: Thanks to singles from Avisail Garcia and Conor Gillaspie and Pete Kozma's error on Alexei Ramirez's double-play grounder, the White Sox loaded the bases with nobody out in the second. But they didn't score. Flowers struck out swinging and Carlos Sanchez bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Grichuk goes to Big Mac Land: Grichuk tallied three hits off Sale, including a 448-foot home run into the left-field second deck to tie the game in the fourth. Grichuk's homer, the seventh of his season, was also the longest hit by a Cardinals player at Busch Stadium this year. He finished a triple shy of the cycle.
"That was the first time I faced him," Grichuk said. "I felt pretty comfortable up there. I saw the ball well off of him. I know he's got great stuff. I just kind of saw it well." More >
Escape acts: Sale allowed a leadoff double to Grichuk in the sixth and gave up back-to-back singles with one out in the eighth, but pitched out of trouble on both occasions. He struck out Peralta and Jason Heyward in the sixth and induced a Mark Reynolds flyout to center to end the eighth.
"The other day, [Jeff Samardzija] didn't get it done [in the eighth inning in Detroit]. Tonight, Sale gets it done," Ventura said. "In the end, I don't have a better guy in the bullpen than him. He's going to finish that and deserves that. I'm going to stick with him."
"A lot of deep counts and a lot of balls that found holes and things like that. That'll happen, but I was able to get through six and only give up one run. So when you're having what you would call a bad night and that's the end result, you'll take it." -- Lynn, on his no-decision.
"I don't watch ESPN or anything like that. I don't read too much in the newspapers and stuff. You have a packed house tonight and the best team in baseball, if I'm not mistaken. That will get your focus on what you need to focus on." -- Sale on how the individual records don't drive him or matter that much to him now.
SALE HITS, TOO
Prior to Sale's leadoff single in the third, the left-handed hurler was 0-for-8 in his career with six strikeouts.
White Sox: Jose Quintana takes the mound at 7:15 p.m. CT Wednesday for his 16th start of the season in the second and final game of the set at Busch Stadium. Despite having a 2-6 record, Quintana has a 3.10 ERA over his last 12 starts.
Cardinals: With Jaime Garcia still not ready to start, John Lackey draws the assignment for Wednesday's series finale against the White Sox. Lackey, who spent his first 12 seasons in the American League, is 3-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 15 career starts against the White Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. CT.
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