Chris Sale stopped yet another bad streak on Wednesday night.
But it wouldn’t have occurred without Tim Anderson and the White Sox offense.
Sale worked around a shaky third inning to deliver seven strong and the White Sox rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in front of 20,292 at U.S. Cellular Field.
It is only the second series win for the White Sox in their last 11 and it took another comeback and RBIs from five different hitters to achieve it. Instead, of falling a season-worst two games under .500, the White Sox improved to 33-33 behind a three-hit, three-run performance by Anderson. David Robertson earned his 16th save in 18 tries and Sale struck out seven and improved to 11-2.
“Everybody is chipping in,” Sale said. “It’s nice to be able to sit in the dugout and know, ‘Hey, I might have faltered a little bit and took a little stutter step, but my guys are right there to pick me up behind me.’
“Those guys coming up big for me and the team tonight — it’s huge.”
Losers in nine of their last 10 series, the White Sox were in desperate need of a victory.
Anderson did his part to provide the spark for the White Sox, who fell behind 3-1 when Sale struggled in the third and allowed three runs and five hits.
Anderson led off three of four innings with hits and scored three of the team’s first four runs. Combined with the effective hitting of Adam Eaton behind him, Anderson’s speed helped the White Sox produce just enough offense.
He opened the first inning with an infield single before Mike Pelfrey hit Eaton with a pitch. One out later, Melky Cabrera’s sac fly put the White Sox ahead 1-0.
Down a run in the fifth, Anderson ignited a game-tying rally with a leadoff triple and scored on Eaton’s RBI groundout. He also singled in the seventh and scooted to third on a ground-rule double by Eaton, who reached base three times in five trips.
Todd Frazier’s one-out, bases-loaded sac fly scored Anderson and put the White Sox ahead 4-3. Frazier, who also walked and scored a run in the fourth on a Brett Lawrie RBI groundout, said Tuesday’s day off helped him refocus.
The White Sox added an insurance run in the eighth on J.B. Shuck’s one-out RBI triple.
The effort was the third consecutive complete one produced by the White Sox offense.
They rallied from seven runs down to win Monday’s game and nearly came back from an eight-run deficit on Tuesday. The White Sox scored 23 runs and had 35 hits in the series.
“That whole at-bat I didn’t feel any pressure and it felt pretty good to be honest with you,” Frazier said. “It’s just the way it goes. It could be one thing. It might even be Tim Anderson coming in here and rejuvenating our team or Chris Sale doing what he had to do today. We just can’t explain it. When you’re struggling, something just clicks and it’s just weird.”
Sale’s third-inning hiccup was the outlier on Wednesday.
He retired the side in order in the first, second, fourth and seventh innings.
But for one inning, Sale looked as if he might not survive long.
Leading 1-0, Sale allowed four straight hits to start the third inning, including a two-run, opposite-field homer to Jose Iglesias.
The first out of the inning recorded by Sale was on an assist by Shuck, who threw out James McCann at home with the aid of a nice block of the plate by Dioner Navarro.
With two outs and a man on second, the White Sox intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos followed with an RBI single to give Detroit a 3-1 lead.
But Sale didn’t bend any further.
“Sometimes a team can get an inning together and it just falls into that part where you can’t get out of it real quickly,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “But it could have been worse. Once he got through that, it seemed better.”
Sale struck out J.D. Martinez to end the third inning and retired 13 of the last 15 hitters he faced — six via strikeouts. Along the way, Sale moved from eighth in franchise history to sixth with 1,104 strikeouts.
Sale allowed six hits and three earned runs in seven innings.
But Sale knows he wouldn’t have won for the 11th time in 13 decisions without his offense picking up the slack.
“You dig your guys in a hole,” Sale said. “Not only do they come back and get you out of it, but they get you a win as well.
“Hopefully (the series win) gives us a little boost going forward.”