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Fans give Chris Sale the last laugh

Updated: August 12, 2014 6:34AM



BOSTON — Chris Sale, the people’s choice, is going to his third All-Star Game.

That it took a Final Vote was as puzzling to the White Sox as plate umpire Tim Hudson’s eye in their 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox in 10 innings Thursday.

“I don’t know how he went to the Final Vote,’’ said Sox left-hander Jose Quintana, who took a perfect game into the sixth inning Thursday. “For me, he’s the best lefty in the American League.’’

Sale will take an 8-1 record and 2.08 ERA into Tuesday’s midsummer classic at Target Field in Minneapolis, his third in three years as a starter. He pitched two perfect innings at Citi Field last July, earned the victory, and likely would have been named MVP had retiring Mariano Rivera not been the sentimental — and deserving, Sale insisted afterward — choice.

Sale, 25, who will be fresh on four days’ rest Tuesday, said going to the game is far from becoming old hat.

“I definitely still get excited,’’ he said Thursday. “I still am appreciative of being able to experience that and do that again.’’

A count of 6.7 million votes gave him a wire-to-wire victory in the online balloting that started Sunday.

“That’s crazy,’’ he said of the vote total. “Obviously I have to show my appreciation to the friends and family and the fans that voted. This is because of them. If I do pitch, I have to pitch good, right?’’

Sale enjoyed the week of support from the Sox organization, which teamed with the Washington Nationals in cross-promoting Anthony Rendon. The Sox are good at this — they also pushed Scott Podsednik (2005), A.J. Pierzynski (’06) and Paul Konerko (’11) in Final Vote victories — and teammates joined in by wearing T-shirts and pushing the #TargetSale hashtag on Twitter all week. Sale joked that he was kissing babies in Boston.

Sale joins first baseman Jose Abreu and shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who were named to the AL squad Sunday. It’s a first for them, but Sale might be more stoked because he’s been there before.

“No matter how many you make, you still get excited about it,’’ he said. “It’s a fun experience, especially to have my family up there with me to experience it with them. Looking to have another good time.’’

Sale said it was “cool” that Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo won the NL Final Vote, adding it is “great for the city of Chicago.”

The polls closed at about the time the Sox game started in Boston, at 3 p.m. CDT, and the results were known about a half an hour later.

“Once it hit around 3:45,
4 o’clock, you start bouncing a little bit. It was a good outcome, so it was worth the wait.’’

The outcome of Thursday’s game was not so good. The Red Sox won in walk-off fashion for the second time in less than 24 hours, scoring the winning run in the 10th on Mike Carp’s pinch single against Ronalid Belisario after the Sox had tied it in the ninth on Conor Gillaspie’s third homer of the series.

The Sox haven’t complained about umpiring much this season, but were unhappy about a ball-four call on Daniel Nava’s leadoff walk in the 10th.

“I don’t know if [Hudson] didn’t see it or not, but he threw a pretty good pitch,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.

Pitch Trax also supported gripes about 3-0 strike call to Konerko in the ninth (before the Gillaspie homer), and a couple of pitches by Quintana in the Red Sox’ three-run sixth. That said, the Sox were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“We had plenty of guys on base to knock in and didn’t do it,’’ Ventura said.

The loss, which gave the Sox a 2-2 series split after they won the first two games, left Sale talking about the All-Star honor in the middle of a subdued clubhouse. He beat out Angels right-hander Garrett Richards, Tigers righty Rick Porcello, Indians righty Corey Kluber and Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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