MINNEAPOLIS -- As if making his first major league start Saturday night at Target Field wasn't daunting enough, Twins left-hander Logan Darnell was pitted against White Sox left-hander Chris Sale.
The results were about as mismatched as one might expect.
The Sox scored seven runs on 11 hits against Darnell, and Sale threw eight scoreless innings as the Sox won their third straight against the Twins, 7-0. The Sox will go for a four-game series sweep Sunday when right-hander Scott Carroll takes the mound.
Sale received a handshake and a head pat from Sox manager Robin Ventura when he returned to the dugout following his 112th pitch in the eighth inning. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out 12 to tie a season high.
It was Sale's 15th career game with double-digit strikeouts in 76 starts, tied for second in Sox history with Juan Pizarro (145 starts) and trailing only the 17 games from Ed Walsh (312 starts).
"He's doing everything he's always done, but with that said, I guess he's maybe improved (this season) a little bit as far as command, locating pitches, maybe more effective misses on pitches," Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. "He's been pretty close to dominant since he came up to this level. As long as he stays healthy, there's no reason why he won't continue to be that."
Alexei Ramirez homered for the second straight night to lead the Sox offense, which has scored as many runs in the series as the previous seven games combined.
In the second inning, Conor Gillaspie doubled, and Tyler Flowers hit an RBI single for a 1-0 lead. Adam Eaton singled in the third inning, advanced on Ramirez's single and scored on Jose Abreu's sacrifice fly for a 2-0 Sox lead.
Ramirez hit his 10th home run of the season in the fifth inning, a two-run shot to left field to give the Sox a 4-0 lead.
The Sox put together four straight hits to start the sixth inning to drive Darnell from the game. Tyler Flowers hit an RBI double and Alejandro De Aza added an RBI single before Gordon Beckham's sacrifice fly extended the Sox lead to 7-0.
"There's a chance you have the advantage and sometimes that guy has the advantage," Ventura said of facing a rookie. "You just have to make sure he throws strikes and you're not swinging at stuff out of the zone."
(c)2014 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services