ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Chris Sale struck out a career-high 15, Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer and the Chicago White Sox extended their winning streak to six games with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.Sale (6-2) gave up one run, three hits and walked two in 7 13 innings while finishing one strikeout shy of the team record. Jack Harshman struck out 16 against Boston on July 25, 1954.Sale struck out his 15th batter, Jose Molina, with a runner on third and two outs in the seventh. He retired his final batter, Rich Thompson, on a grounder to lead off the eighth.After Jesse Crain got the final two outs in the eighth, Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his fifth save.Chicago took a 2-1 lead during the sixth when Gordon Beckham singled and scored on Dunn's 16th homer. Dunn has gone deep 11 times in May.Matt Moore (1-5) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings for Tampa Bay. The left-hander, who given up 19 runs over 19 2-3 innings in his previous four starts, struck out 10 and walked one.The White Sox had scored at least nine runs in each of their previous four games.Chicago's Paul Konerko, who entered hitting .399, went 1 for 4. He flared an opposite-field single to right during the ninth that extended his hitting streak to 14 games.Ben Zobrist singled, stole second and scored to put the Rays up 1-0 on Jose Lobaton's RBI single in the fourth. Lobaton was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game after being out since April 13 due to right shoulder soreness.Zobrist, playing in right field, took a hit away from A.J. Pierzynski in the second with a diving catch.Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton went 0 for 4, including three strikeouts against Sale, and had his 10-game winning streak end.NOTES: White Sox GM Kenny Williams doesn't think LHP John Danks, who is on the 15-day DL with a left shoulder strain, will need a minor league rehab start. Danks could rejoin the rotation around June 5. ... Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria (partially tear left hamstring) increased his agility and running program, and continues taking batting practice and fielding grounder. ... Williams said attendance could impact the White Sox at the trade deadline. "If you can't monetarily make something work, sometimes you have to do it with a greater cost to your talent," Williams said. Chicago is averaging 20,663 this season at home. ... To make room for Lobaton, Tampa Bay optioned C Chris Gimenez to Triple-A Durham.
Eloy Jimenez is wasting no time endearing himself to the South Side. His game-winning, broken bat homer against the team that traded him away, in his first time back, is the stuff of legend. The Quintana-Eloy trade still probably has 10-15 years of barguments ahead of it, but it's quickly becoming one of the more fascinating storylines in recent memory.
There's apparently baseball going on outside of Chicago, though, and as it turns out, the teams that were still really good last week are still really good this week. The Astros and Yankees are actually probably getting better. The Orioles are not.
To the rankings!
Looking for another example of how far Lucas Giolito has come this season? Look back to last year’s Crosstown series.
Giolito pitched in games on both sides of town, but the start he made against the Cubs at Wrigley Field was emblematic of his woeful 2018 season. He actually earned the win in that game, but he walked seven batters and threw three wild pitches. By the time he exited, his season ERA was nearly 7.00.
White Sox fans know that 2019 has been the complete opposite for Giolito, and he rides into his Wednesday-night start on the North Side as one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Just like Eloy Jimenez’s game-winning home run Tuesday was the best snapshot of the White Sox rebuilding progress to date, putting last year’s start at Wrigley next to where Giolito is heading into this year’s start at Wrigley is the best snapshot of his amazing transformation.
“It was survival mode,” Giolito said Tuesday. “Now I feel like I’m on the attack. When I take the ball, I have full confidence in myself that I will come after you with really good stuff, changes in velocity and movement. Last year I went out not knowing what I had that day.
“I don’t want to walk seven, like I did last year here. I got the win somehow. The offense and defense bailed me out a ton. This year I’m much different. I’m all about filling up the zone, attacking hitters. That’s pretty much the M.O.”
The difference has been obvious to anyone who watched Giolito struggle last season to the tune of a 6.13 ERA (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), a 1.48 WHIP (the highest among baseball’s qualified starters), 118 earned runs (the most in baseball) and 90 walks (the most in the American League). This season, he’s been dominant, on an incredible run that’s made him as good a Cy Young candidate as you’ll find. He’s got a 2.22 ERA right now, best in the AL, with 95 strikeouts in 81 innings.
Over his last eight starts, Giolito has a 0.94 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. Opposing hitters are batting just .149 against him during that span.
The dude’s on fire, a near lock to be an All Star, and perhaps most importantly, he’s totally changed his long-term perception in the minds of White Sox fans. They groaned during the walks and the runs and the wild pitches last year and cast him out of their projected future rotations. Now they’re cheering a guy who looks capable of leading that rotation of the future.
What a difference a year makes.
If those White Sox fans are anything in number and volume like they were Tuesday night, when they made Wrigley Field sound like Guaranteed Rate Field after Jimenez’s homer in the ninth, then Giolito can expect a rocking atmosphere as he looks to keep the good times rolling — and make a Crosstown moment worth remembering this time.
“I want to give the fans a show as much as I can,” Giolito said. “I like to see we’re filling up our ballpark with more White Sox fans, more people starting to pay attention. Just want to continue on that train. Our team is playing really hard and we’re happy to be here.
“My goal every time I pitch is to win, so not too much changes. But it's going to be a lot of fun, I'll say that. I'm looking forward to it.”