Baseball / Sports

Chris Sale makes fast work of Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- As if making his first major league start Saturday night at Target Field wasn't daunting enough, Minnesota Twins left-hander Logan Darnell was pitted against fellow lefty Chris Sale.

The results were about as mismatched as one might expect.

The White Sox scored seven runs on 11 hits against Darnell while Sale threw eight scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory that marked his team's third straight over the Twins.

Alexei Ramirez homered for the second straight night to lead the Sox offense, which has scored as many runs in this series as in the previous seven games combined.

It has been a good three nights against the stumbling Twins. Afterward Sale reflected on how close the Sox might be to resembling a winning team with some of their key pieces such as himself, lowering his ERA to 1.88, and Jose Abreu, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games. Sale made sure recovering right fielder Avisail Garcia also was inserted in that conversation.

"We have all the right pieces in all the right places, it's just a matter of stringing some wins together," Sale said. "Obviously we're all very comfortable with each other and have confidence in each other. Hopefully it's sooner rather than later that we get into the playoffs and we make a push."

Sale received a handshake and a head pat from Sox manager Robin Ventura when he returned to the dugout after throwing 112 pitches in eight innings. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out 12 to tie a season high.

"It was the fastest I've seen him work, just getting the ball, not a lot of shaking off," Ventura said. "And he was throwing everything."

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 always has done, but I guess maybe he has improved a little bit as far as command, locating pitches, maybe more effective misses on pitches," Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. "He has been pretty close to dominant since he came up to this level."

In the second inning, Conor Gillaspie doubled and Flowers singled him. Adam Eaton singled in the third inning, advanced on Ramirez's single and scored on 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 and drive Darnell from the game. Flowers had an RBI double and Alejandro De Aza added an RBI single before Gordon Beckham's sacrifice fly extended the Sox lead to 7-0.

"Any time you get offensive help like that, it gives you the confidence to stay in that groove," Sale said.

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