GLENDALE, Ariz. — He didn’t have it early Saturday night but once Chris Sale found his A-material he didn’t let go.
The White Sox ace settled down to pitch well after a wild first inning and kept delivering through his postgame interview. Making his fourth start of the spring, Sale allowed three runs (one earned), two hits, walked two and hit three over 4 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out five batters after getting off to a rocky start.
In Sale’s first inning he allowed two runs, had a throwing error, hit two batters and unleashed a wild pitch.
“It was kind of like having Dish Network in the rain,” Sale said. “You have it sometimes. You don’t have it the next, and it comes back. Kind of scattered all over the place.”
Sale said Saturday night’s game in front of 13,232 had a regular-season atmosphere to it. He threw strikes on 55 of 80 pitches and felt loose throughout his start. Sale also called his change his “best worst pitch” because he was inconsistent with it. At time, Sale got outs with the changeup but he also said all three hit batters were courtesy of the off-speed pitch.
The biggest blow of the night, however, came when opposing pitcher Clayton Kershaw singled to right on a 3-0 offering in the second inning.
A two-time National League Cy Young winner, Kershaw has a .154 career batting average.
“It would have a lot better if I didn’t give a hit to the left-handed pitcher after going 3-0 to him,” Sale said. “That hit the ego a little bit. That’s just comical. I can’t really do anything other than laugh.”
— Avisail Garcia followed a line drive single by Jose Abreu in the bottom of the sixth with a three-run home run just to the right of the batter’s eye in center field off Kershaw.
— Adam Eaton opened the game with a generously ruled inside-the-park-home run when Los Angeles center fielder Joc Pederson ran in too far.
— Nate Jones and Maikel Cleto both pitched scoreless innings in relief; Cleto recorded two scoreless innings.