Chris Sale, White Sox finally pick up elusive Saturday victory
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter June 28, 2014 9:28PM
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale works against the Toronto Blue Jays during first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese) ORG XMIT: DBC102
Updated: June 28, 2014 11:03PM
TORONTO — Not even flying through the peculiar no-win-Saturday zone could prevent lefty Chris Sale from getting a victory.
The White Sox say it’s “win day” when their ace pitches, and, despite giving up a season-high five walks, Sale didn’t let his teammates down by pitching seven strong innings. Besides a two-run homer from Darin Mastroianni, the Blue Jays got nothing substantial against Sale, who struck out six and improved to 7-1. As Sale put it, it took a three-run “game-changing” homer from Dayan Viciedo on the first pitch from Dustin McGowan in the seventh inning.
On this rough-and-tumble road trip, this was a much-needed win.
“Especially with how we won it today,’’ Sale said. “Viciedo coming up with that big hit, the bullpen locking it down, that’s really the dichotomy between good baseball and bad baseball. Viciedo flat-out won the game for us.’’
An invigorated Sale pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning after that, turning it over to a new-look bullpen-by-committee that survived its first test.
“I felt like I had good stuff,’’ Sale said. ‘‘I just didn’t know where it was going, for the most part. I couldn’t get my slider over for a called strike.’’
The Sox were 0-12 on Saturdays, including the Mike Trout grand-slam game in Anaheim in which Sale got a no-decision. Sale’s only loss was against the Tigers. He gave up one run, and it took Max Scherzer’s only complete game of his career to beat him.
A night after homering to the opposite field, Viciedo homered into the second tier of seats at Rogers Centre. The Sox had been silent until then, with two hits against Marcus Stroman, who had just left to a standing ovation.
“We’ve been going through some rough times,’’ Viciedo said. ‘‘It’s always good to come through.
“I was just looking for a good pitch in the zone [from McGowan]. He threw that slider, and it was just kind of hanging there.’’
Viciedo had 13 hits in his previous 91 at-bats.
“The most important thing whenever things aren’t going well is that you keep your confidence,’’ he said.
Center fielder Adam Eaton was back after missing almost all of the first two games in Toronto. Eaton has sore legs, which could be an issue throughout the season.
“Just need to take more initiative, get in there and get treatment,’’ he said.
This and that
Iron-man shortstop Alexei Ramirez has looked somewhat tired of late and did not start for the first time this season. But he pinch-hit for Conor Gillaspie against lefty Aaron Loup in the eighth and drove in what turned out to be the winning run.
◆ Adam Dunn (double, single, two walks) got on base four times for the 73rd time in his career, the fifth-most among active left-handed hitters behind Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, David Ortiz and Joe Mauer.
◆ Mark Buehrle (10-4, 2.52 ERA), who’s having an All-Star-caliber season, will face his former team Sunday. Paul Konerko, a good friend, will be in the starting lineup.
“Him getting in the batter’s box and taking me on, it’s going to be weird for me and for him,’’ Buehrle said.