Rare defensive miscues prove costly for White Sox


Rare defensive miscues prove costly for White Sox

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The White Sox couldnt solve Scott Feldman on Sunday night.

The Texas Rangers right-hander wasnt dominant, but did enough good things to help his team avoid a White Sox sweep with a 2-0 victory in front of 46,744 at Rangers Ballpark.

Feldman and Joe Nathan combined on a seven-hit shutout to beat the White Sox, who had won five in a row overall and against the Rangers. Gavin Floyd (8-9) took the loss as the White Sox lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central was trimmed to 1 12 games.

Feldman wasnt overpowering. He allowed all seven of the White Sox hits. But he was efficient and got 13 outs on ground balls to slow the Sox, who had scored 40 runs and hit .305 with 12 home runs in their previous five games. Only twice in eight innings did Feldman, a 17-game winner in 2009, allow two runners to reach in a frame.

He allowed two singles in the second inning but got Kevin Youkilis to pop out to third and Adam Dunn flew out to right. Then in the seventh, Feldman, who needed only 88 pitches to complete eight innings, erased a leadoff single by Alexei Ramirez with a first-pitch double play off the bat of Dayan Viciedo. Feldman struck out five.

Floyd wasnt nearly as efficient but managed to be effective. He let 13 runners reach base in 6 23 innings pitched, including five walks and a hit batsmen.

But Floyd also skillfully danced in and out of trouble. He loaded the bases in the first two innings, but retired Michael Young on a grounder to end one and Adrian Beltre on a pop up to finish the next.

Floyd wouldnt get as lucky in the third inning as Ramirez bobbled a potential inning-ending slow grounder with runners on the corners to give Texas a 1-0 lead.

The Rangers added a second run in the fifth inning when Nelson Cruz alertly scored from third base on Youngs one-out comebacker after Floyd threw to first base. Cruz, who was two steps off the bag, waited until Floyd turned his back and took off, scoring well ahead of Dunns bouncing throw home.

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on Tuesday:

1. Brandon Saad's breakout game

After turning in one of his best efforts of the season on Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks rewarded Saad with a promotion to the top-six again. And he took advantage of that opportunity.

In the first period alone, Saad recorded four shots on goal, scored his first of the season on the power play, drew a penalty and had a takeaway in 7:42 of ice time, which led all forwards. He finished with nine shot attempts (a season-high seven on goal) and 18:56 of ice time.

On his power-play goal, Saad battled for position in front of the net, called for the puck and scored on his second effort. He did all the right things and got rewarded, including on the empty-netter that sealed the victory.

"I've had some chances, especially as of late," Saad said. "But it's definitely nice for them to get in and get a win on top of that."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "He was excellent tonight. ... I thought he had great speed all over the ice, had the puck way more. We’re happy for him. Big factor in the win."

2. Erik Gustafsson's slap-pass becoming a thing

For the second time this season, Gustafsson contributed to a game-winning goal that involved a fake shot and slap-pass from the point. Patrick Kane was the recipient of the cross-ice pass and buried home the one-timer from the right faceoff circle

"I can’t score by myself, so it’s better to pass it," Gustafsson joked. "No, I know Kaner is out there. He’s always getting open when someone else has the puck so it’s easy to find him and there was one guy in front of me so I wanted to pass it."

3. Blackhawks cut down on high-danger chances

On Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks allowed 25 high-danger chances at even strength. It put them at the very bottom of the league for most on average per game, ironically falling below Anaheim.

Through two periods on Tuesday, the Blackhawks allowed zero and only five at 5-on-5 for the entire game. Certainly a 180 from two nights ago, and an area they will continue to build upon.

"We just took away those quality chances," said Corey Crawford, who made 24 saves and picked up his first win at home since Dec. 17, 2017. "I don't think they really had too many where they had time in front of the net to really think about where they wanted to shoot and our guys were on the right away in the middle of the ice and that'll give you a great chance to win a hockey game."

4. Special teams battle

There were a total of 20 penalty minutes (10 for Anaheim, 10 for Chicago), which meant lots of power play opportunities and not as much even-strength time.

The Blackhawks had four of them in the first period, and converted on the second try when Saad scored his first of the season. The penalty killed went 4-for-4, allowing a combined eight combined shots on goal but limiting the quality chances.

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox


Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.

That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.

One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.

Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.

Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.

This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).

The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.