Chris Sale strengthened his case to start Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati and paced the White Sox to their ninth win in their last 11 games.
Sale struck out 10 as the White Sox beat the Cubs, 5-1, in front of 41,596 at Wrigley Field Saturday afternoon. The ace left-hander scattered six hits and one walk and now has double-digit strikeouts in 10 of his 17 starts this season.
The White Sox quickly handed Sale a two-run lead with three straight hits to begin the afternoon off $155 million left-hander Jon Lester. Adam Eaton doubled off the left field ivy and scored when Tyler Saladino tripled — his first major league hit — to the right-center field gap. Cubs manager Joe Maddon, well aware of Sale’s dominance this season, brought the infield in for Jose Abreu, who bounced a ground ball into center for an RBI single.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Lester settled down and scythed his way through the White Sox order over the next five innings, but Kris Bryant’s seventh-inning error opened the door for Sale to get some more support. Alexei Ramirez delivered his first RBI since June 21 — a span of 62 plate appearances — and Tyler Flowers ripped a two-run double to center to give Sale a five-run cushion.
The White Sox last scored more than four runs with Sale on the mound June 3 against Texas and only have done so in four of Sale’s 17 starts this season.
The Cubs got a run back in the bottom of the seventh when Jonathan Herrera’s double into the left field corner scored Starlin Castro. The Cubs’ run ended a 30-inning scoreless streak by White Sox pitchers dating back to Wednesday night’s extra-inning win over Toronto.
Sale’s done more than tie a major league record for most consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts over the last two months. In 92 innings covering his last 12 starts, he’s racked up 131 strikeouts while allowing 18 earned runs, 55 hits, 13 walks and seven home runs.