White Sox win fourth straight behind Sale's gem

White Sox win fourth straight behind Sale's gem
May 17, 2013, 12:00 am
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Angels won’t have to face Chris Sale again this season unless they met in the postseason.

They’re not gonna miss him.

Five days after he was nearly perfect in Chicago, Sale dominated the Angels and the White Sox extended their season-best win streak to four games with a 3-0 decision in front of 37,546 at Angel Stadium.

Sale (5-2) struck out 12 over 7 2/3 scoreless innings and Alex Rios and Adam Dunn both homered. Sale, Jesse Crain and Addison Reed combined for a three-hit shutout for the White Sox, who improved to 4-1 on their current road trip.

[WATCH: Ventura praises Sale for shutting down the Angels

“This is probably the best two games (Sale) has had,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s growing in to being the guy and going out there and proving it. You go through a team the second time and their lineup is tough enough just going through it once. And you do it in back-to-back in a week? It’s a feather in his cap and it proves how good he is.”

Sale largely stuck to the same game plan as Sunday, when he used a fastball-changeup combo en route to a complete-game, one-hitter.

This time, however, Sale turned to his slider more often in two-strike counts. Six of his 12 strikeouts were finished with the slider, a pitch he threw 19 of 22 times for strikes.

“That was all on (catcher Tyler Flowers),” Sale said. “I didn’t shake him off once.”

[MORE: Reed flashes back to his youth

The Angels were the only ones left to shake their heads.

They blew opportunities against the 2012 All-Star in the first and fourth innings and were stymied the rest of the way.

Sale struck out Albert Pujols and got Josh Hamilton to pop out in the first as he pitched around two walks. Then in the fourth, after Mark Trumbo’s one-out double, Sale struck out Hamilton and Howie Kendrick. He also struck out Pujols to start the inning.

Sale -- who allowed three hits and walked three -- also struck out a pair in the sixth and seventh innings as he achieved double digits for the fifth time in 38 career starts. The left-hander’s night ended when he blew a 94-mph fastball past Erick Aybar to end a nine-pitch at-bat with a called third strike.

Sale improved to 4-0 with a 1.18 ERA in his last four starts and has pitched 23 straight scoreless innings, the most by a Sox pitcher since J.J. Putz went 27 straight frames in 2010.

“His last couple of outings have been spectacular,” said Rios, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games. “He’s been under control the whole game. When he pitches like that he doesn’t need many runs.”

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Rios gave Sale all the support he’d need with a first-inning solo home run off C.J. Wilson (3-3). Rios, who opened the season with hits in the first 10 games, is 19-for-49 (.388) with four homers and nine RBIs over the last 12 games. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk.

Conor Gillaspie gave Sale breathing room in the seventh inning when he knocked in Dayan Viciedo with a two-out single off Wilson. Dunn made it a 3-0 game in the ninth when he blasted a no-doubt home run to right off Garrett Richards. Dunn, who has four homers on the trip, also flew out to the track in left-center in his first at-bat.

But afterward, all the talk surrounded Sale, who has held the Angels to nine hits in 79 at-bats (.114) over five appearances (three starts).

“Face a team one week and you come back and face (them) shortly after, you probably need to change some stuff up, and he did,” Ventura said. “He wants to be in that elite group. He’s proving it.”