BOSTON -- Midway through his postgame media session at Fenway Park, White Sox right-hander Scott Carroll playfully swapped out one baseball cap sporting the #TargetSale slogan for another with a similar message.
The White Sox had some fun lobbying for Chris Sale in the All-Star Game's Final Vote fan balloting contest for much of Monday, wearing red T-shirts in support of the left-hander and tweeting out pleas for fan votes.
Carroll then maintained the light-hearted mood Monday night, pitching one of his best games since his major league debut April 27 to help the White Sox open a four-game series against the Red Sox with a 4-0 victory.
Carroll pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, walking two and striking out five. Javy Guerra and Zach Putnam allowed just one more Red Sox hit as the team shut out an opponent for the second straight day.
Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo each homered off Clay Buchholz to provide all the offense the White Sox needed.
"From the very beginning, even the first batter, I could tell that my ball was going to be low and I was able to make pitches early on," Carroll said. "My sinker was really good. To be able to throw four seams in, two seams against the lefties helped out a lot."
More than three weeks earlier, Carroll had been the target of a prank in which Sale wrote Carroll's cellphone number on an erasable marker Doodle Hat similar to the ones Carroll wore Monday night. Carroll hadn't much had an occasion to goof around postgame since then, allowing 12 runs over 11 innings in two games since his return to the rotation.
But Monday was a different story, as he allowed just three baserunners. His performance brought White Sox starters' ERA to 0.72 during the last run through the rotation.
"I was thinking about that coming into the game," Carroll said. "We've had great starting pitching, and I want to be the guy to continue that success and continue to ride that wave."
Dunn hit a solo home run to right field in the second inning -- homer No. 13 this season and No. 453 in his career, pushing him into sole possession of 35th place on the all-time list ahead of former Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski.
He hit a double in the fourth, and after Alexei Ramirez walked, Viciedo launched a three-run shot over the wall just to the right of center field.
"That's actually the first one I have hit on the barrel in probably three weeks, batting practice included," Dunn said of his homer. "It did feel good to actually hit one on the barrel."
With a level of certainty that comes with all things concerning a healthy Sale, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said before the game that they "fully expect" Sale to ultimately be named to the American League All-Star team though he was left off the initial roster.
Some of the rest of the White Sox pitching, both in the back end of the rotation and in the bullpen, hasn't been so certain this season, and Hahn not surprisingly said that pitching is a priority for the club as it moves forward. The first order of Sox business last season was acquiring needs on the position player side.
"There's never really a spot where any of the 30 clubs feel like they have enough pitching," Hahn said. "Certainly given some of the injury issues we had and some of the development issues that have stalled perhaps ... we see that need continuing to be a priority."
When the White Sox might make moves to bolster the pitching core or other areas remains to be seen. Hahn said the club is in a different spot in regard to making trades as they were last year in July, when they sold off several veterans.
"There's no urgency to cash in an asset so to speak before it expires," Hahn said. "We are willing to make a deal at any point where it makes most sense for our long-term interests. Whether that happens in the next two weeks or it takes until the offseason or spring training next year, we are not going to force the issue."
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