GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chris Sale likes how he feels as well as the atmosphere in the White Sox dugout.
The left-hander allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings on Thursday as he made his second-to-last start of the spring. Sale earned a no decision as the White Sox lost to the Los Angeles Angels 6-5. Sale began his outing with five scoreless innings before yielding a three-run homer to Mike Trout and a solo shot to C.J. Cron in the sixth.
Sale said he feels great after he threw 88 pitches in the game and another 17 in the bullpen. He’s even happier with the dugout.
“Just the chatter in the dugout, not only from players, but from coaches, too,” Sale said. “Sometimes you can get in the dugout and it’s quiet and kind of stagnant. I haven’t really felt that. Especially in spring training, this can get kind of tough on guys and mentally draining. To be able to carry that energy in spring, it’s nice and it shows definitely.”
Sale intended to make Thursday’s start like a real game with a higher pitch count. Facing Trout and Albert Pujols ensured it would be for Sale, who pitched in simulated game and B games before he made his Cactus League debut on Saturday.
Sale retired both batters in their first two plate appearances, including a strikeout of Trout to start the fourth inning. He had only faced three over the minimum before the Angels started the sixth inning with three straight hits, the last being Trout’s homer to left field.
“My body feels good,” Sale said. “My arm feels great. That’s half the battle down here so with that and moving forward, I think we will all be prepared.
“All in all, it was a good day. The sixth inning got away a little bit, but that’s what we’re here for, to build up and use that as fuel.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Jimmy Rollins had a first-inning solo homer, his fourth of the spring. Brett Lawrie belted a two-run shot in the sixth inning, his third. The White Sox have blasted 36 homers in 22 games this spring.
The White Sox only hit 136 home runs in 2015, their fewest in a full season since 1992. They only hit 22 in camp last spring.
“It’s been a good sign,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You’re hopeful guys hit homers because you need to hit them to be able to compete in our division. I like the way it’s gone so far. But you never can tell.”