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Sox give Chris Sale some rare run support

SUNDAY

White SOX AT TWINS

The facts: 1:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The starters: Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.37 ERA) vs. Samuel Deduno (7-6, 3.54).

Updated: September 19, 2013 10:19AM



MINNEAPOLIS — Josh Phegley was preparing to catch White Sox lefty Chris Sale on Saturday, and needless to say, he was looking ­forward to it.

“I’ve probably seen pitches like his with that much break, but from the angle it comes at from him, it’s unique,’’ Phegley said. “You can tell from how the hitters react. He gets a lot of takes from righties who don’t think it’s coming back that far and lefties bailing out of the box.’’

It must be nice having the best seat in the house to watch who Detroit Tigers veteran outfielder Torii Hunter called “definitely the best lefty in the game’’ last week.

That was some kind of high praise for the Sox’ 24-year-old two-time All-Star, ‘‘especially for somebody like Torii to say that about Chris,’’ Phegley said. “He’s faced a lot of guys. That’s pretty impressive.’’

Sale didn’t feel like the game’s best lefty in the Sox’ 8-5 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night, the Sox’ second consecutive victory and, for the first time this season — because of poor run support — Sale’s third win in a row.

Sale, who gave up nine hits over seven innings, was roughed up for three runs in the third inning, but no more after that. He struck out eight.

“Well, we won, so, any time you come back in with a ‘W’ you feel good about it,’’ Sale (9-11, 2.78 ERA) said in a noisy visitors clubhouse at Target Field. “Obviously you want to change some things that happened in the third inning especially, but a win is a win. The music’s playing, people are smiling, and we’re good to go.’’

“He’s going to compete as hard as anybody and he has some of the best stuff,’’ Phegley said. “That’s a good combination. Makes my job easier, knowing he’s going to throw something that’s nasty and tough to hit.’’

While not at his best, Sale had to tap deeper into his competitive tank on Saturday. After striking out the first three Twins and retiring the first eight batters with five strikeouts, the Twins reeled off four hits, including a two-run double off the wall by Joe Mauer and another double by Josh Willingham.

Just like that, Sale trailed 3-1. But his teammates, who have given him the worst run support of any pitcher in the majors, perked up with a four-run splash in the fourth — also after two outs — against lefty Andrew Albers (2-1). Adam Dunn (3-for-4) and Avisail Garcia (RBI) doubled, Jeff Keppinger walked and Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run homer.

“I know — he gets all the runs,’’ manager Robin Ventura said sarcastically. “I don’t think he’s feeling fortunate, but it’s nice to get.

“You’ve seen him better, but he’s been better and lost, too, so he’ll take it.’’

Sale then strung together four scoreless innings with the help of a Gordon Beckham backhand and glove flip to start a key double play, and turned it over to the bullpen with a 6-3 lead. Nate Jones, working for the 10th time in 16 days, gave up two runs in the eighth, but Alejandro De Aza got them back with a two-run homer in the ninth. Addison Reed threw a seven-pitch ninth for his 30th save.

It was nice for Sale to enjoy a victory. Broadcaster Tom Paciorek stopped by his locker after the game with congratulations for battling through this one.

“You should have 17 wins,’’ Paciorek said.

Sale, as always, wouldn’t acknowledge the lack of support.

“Tank [Viciedo] hitting that big home run for us … you give up a three-run inning like that, the guys come back and score four, it shows they’re still fighting,’’ Sale said. “So I have to go out there and fight as well.’’

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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