White Sox left-hander Chris Sale brushed off a rough outing in his last start to give the Tigers plenty of problems Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Sox, however, found Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer even more problematic.
Manager Robin Ventura said before the game that he had no worries about Sale being able to leave behind his previous start, when he allowed five eighth-inning runs for a no decision against the Angels, which eventually turned into a Sox loss.
“(Sale) just goes and pitches,” Ventura said of moving on. “He’s a high intensity guy, a lot of emotion. He separates it pretty good.”
Sale showed few signs of a hangover, allowing one run on five hits, walking none and striking out 10. The only run he allowed was Victor Martinez’s solo home run to start the fifth inning.
He didn’t allow his first hit until Rajai Davis led off the fourth with a single, and Sale then helped catch Davis stealing second to eliminate the only Tigers’ threat in the first four innings.
Martinez sent his 16th homer of the season into the Sox bullpen in left field for a 1-0 lead over the Sox. Torii Hunter singled and Bryan Holaday had a base hit that bounced off Sale’s glove as he reached to field it, but the Tigers couldn’t add to their lead.
Sale threw 116 pitches before reliever Jake Petricka entered in the eighth. Petricka gave up singles to Holaday and Eugenio Suarez to start off the inning. Miguel Cabrera then hit a two-out, two-run single that bounced over the head of Petricka. Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham tried to grab the hit bare-handed, but he lost his grip as the second Tigers runner scored.
The Tigers added a run against reliever Daniel Webb in the ninth inning on Holaday’s RBI single.
Scherzer allowed just two hits and six total base-runners through the first eight innings.
The Sox came up with their first hit in the fourth inning against Scherzer. Conor Gillaspie reached on a fielding error from Cabrera, and Alexei Ramirez hit a two-out double to the left-field corner to put runners on second and third. But Dayan Viciedo flied out to right field to end the Sox scoring chance.
Beckham hit a two-out double in the eighth, but Gillaspie grounded out to end the inning.
Scherzer had struggled a bit of late, allowing 40 hits and 20 earned runs over his previous four starts, but the Sox said going in that they knew they had a tough matchup on hand.
“He has the stuff,” Ventura said of Scherzer. “(If) you’re a team going into it thinking he doesn’t have it, you’ll find out real quick that he does have the stuff to still win (the Cy Young) and win games and be very good.”