Sale simply sensational yet again

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Sale simply sensational yet again

One start into June and Chris Sale looks like the same guy just named the American League Pitcher of the Month for May.

Sale didnt look as overwhelming as he did when fanning 15 batters in his previous start, but he was dominant in leading the White Sox to a 4-2 victory over Seattle on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.

Alex Rios drove in two runs as Chicago overcame an early 2-0 deficit and won for the 10th time in 11 games and 14th in their past 16.

Sale, who entered the game 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA and 28 strikeouts in his previous three starts, improved to 7-2 in pitching his first career complete game, and Chicagos fourth of the season.

He gave up two runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in his 119-pitch effort.

The outing saved a taxed Chicago bullpen, which was depleted and then some in Saturdays 10-8, 12-inning loss that snapped the Soxs nine-game winning streak. Chicago used all seven relievers and starter Jose Quintana in relief of Gavin Floyd.

Sales only harmful mistake came in the second when he gave up a two-run bomb to
Miguel Olivo, giving Seattle a 2-0 lead. Olivo drove an 0-1 pitch an estimated 448 feet into dead center field.

The Sox answered with a run in the bottom of the inning when Brent Lillibridge drew a bases-loaded walk from Kevin Millwood. But Gordon Beckham grounded into a force out at second to end the threat with Chicago still down 2-1.

Millwoods wildness continued in the third as the Sox rallied to tie the game. After walking three and throwing a wild pitch in the second, Millwood started the third by walking Adam Dunn and then hitting Dayan Viciedo.

Rios followed with a single up the middle that scored Dunn and tied the game 2-2.

With Millwood struggling, the Sox tacked on two more runs in the fourth, getting RBI singles from Beckham and Rios to take a 4-2 lead.

Millwood didnt return for the fifth, having thrown 95 pitches already. He gave up four runs on seven hits and five walks with four strikeouts in four innings.

Sale pitched out of some trouble in the fourth and fifth innings after allowing lead-off hits both times. Jesus Montero led off the fourth with a single but went no further as Sale got a fly out before striking out the final two batters.

The trouble seemed worse in the fifth, but again Sale didnt allow a lead-off double by Michael Saunders to derail him. Like the previous inning, Sale retired the next three batters in stranding Saunders at second.

Sale looked in control the entire afternoon, though he never retired more than seven in a row. He was the second White Sox player to earn pitcher of the month this season. Jake Peavy took the award in April.

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”