MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Sale’s confidence in his teammates hasn’t wavered once this season despite an abundance of struggles.
They have begun to repay him accordingly.
The White Sox rallied from an early deficit for the third straight time with Sale on the mound on Saturday night. Dayan Viciedo clubbed a three-run home run and Sale took advantage as the White Sox held off the Minnesota Twins 8-5 at Target Field on Saturday night. Adam Dunn had three more hits behind Sale, who struck out eight over seven innings.
After they scored 39 runs for him in his first 20 starts, the White Sox have produced 14 runs of support for Sale (9-11) in the past three.
“Even when it wasn’t going great I still had that confidence in them to come back and score runs,” Sale said. “It just seems to be working out our way. Tank hitting that big home run for us, for me anyway it’s a big confidence builder. … It shows they’re still fighting. So I have to go out there and fight as well.”
Sale endured a trying outing after what appeared to be a great start stalled in the third inning.
Joe Mauer nearly homered with two outs in the third and settled for a two-run double to right-center instead. Josh Willingham then doubled off Sale -- who struck out five and retired the first eight he faced -- to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead.
But the White Sox put together a two-out rally of their own in the fourth inning.
Dunn and Avisail Garcia had back-to-back doubles to make it 3-2. After Jeff Keppinger drew a walk against Twins starter Andrew Albers, Viciedo ripped a three-run homer to left to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead.
“I feel much better,” Viciedo said. “My timing is a little bit off yet because I haven’t been playing consistently, but I’ve definitely been feeling a lot better.”
Viciedo has five RBIs in two games since he returned to the lineup Friday after missing significant time with a thumb injury.
“He’s back and feeling pain-free pretty much,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He looks good. We haven’t had many three-run homers lately it’s nice getting one instead of a solo.”
The White Sox were gifted a run in the eighth inning when Willingham couldn’t locate Dunn’s two-out fly ball and it fell in for an RBI double.
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Alejandro De Aza’s two-out, two-run shot in the ninth extended the lead to 8-5.
Even though he wasn’t as sharp, Sale didn’t need much more than the five runs he received, but the defense aided the effort anyway.
Gordon Beckham delivered what Sale called a “game-saver” when he robbed Mauer of ground-ball base hit. Beckham raced to his right and made a dazzling stop with two on to start a double play to end the fifth inning.
Though he was far from perfect after his third-inning hiccup Sale didn’t allow anyone else to score.
He got another double play in the fourth inning and then stranded two more runners in the sixth inning. Sale also retired Mauer with a man at second to end the seventh.
With three wins in a row and his confidence repaid, Sale -- who allowed three earned runs and nine hits and walked one -- feels pretty good.
“Any time you come back with a ‘W’ you feel good about it,” Sale said. “Obviously you want to change some things that happened in the third inning especially. But at the end of the day a win is a win. Music’s playing, people are smiling, and we’re good to go.”