Last season, Chris Sale took the 'L' all four times he faced the Cleveland Indians, allowed six home runs in 23 innings and racked up an 8.61 ERA. On these terms, Friday night's erratic and truncated five-inning, three-run outing was a dramatic improvement for Sale, even if it wasn't what the brand new K-Zone in left field wanted.
But the more relevant switch from last season has been the White Sox offense turning into a megalomaniacal, all-consuming, fire-breathing death machine. They're currently on pace to score 1,000 runs on the season, after their second-straight clubbing of the Indians' pitching staff in an 9-6 victory.
After clocking three home runs Thursday night, Sox hitters slapped, spanked (patent pending) and walked all over Carlos Carrasco & Co. 1-2-3 combo Adam Eaton, Marcus Semien and Conor Gillaspie combined to reach base 10 times and turned half of those appearances into runs. As a whole, the Sox walked nine times and reached base 20 times in all. The 2013 team must be rolling in their grave.
Eaton, reaching base at a .415 clip so far this season, shook things into action in the third with an RBI double into the right field corner to break the scoreless. A Gillaspie sac fly and a Alejandro De Aza slapped single up the middle in the fourth staked Sale to a 3-0 advantage after four, and seemingly placed him into the driver's seat.
Yet the ace was never truly right. He had to pitch around two first-inning walks early on, but shockingly gave up four-straight scorched hits in the fifth and coughed up the lead in a heartbeat. He settled down just enough to finish the frame without further issues, but handed over a tied game against a potent Indians squad to his shaky bullpen. It wound up being a non-issue and Sale looks like a winner in the box score, since the Sox never stopped scoring.
Back-to-back Eaton and Semien walks and a Gillaspie RBI single punched under the glove of Jason Kipnis provided an immediate answer in the bottom half of the inning, and lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski walked both Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo in relief to give the Sox a 5-3 cushion after five. Two innings later, Gillapsie drove Eaton and Semien in again with a sliced double to the left field corner to put the game out of reach. Gillaspie never scored, as Jose Abreu suffered through an 0-4 night, but he drove in four. He shouldn't be a No. 3 hitter, he isn't a No. 3 hitter, yet he's there and he's hitting.
Jake Petricka's final relief line of two runs and three hits over two innings doesn't look pretty, but his heroics overcame how brutally he was victimized by duck snorts and an error by Gillaspie in the sixth. With a run in already and the game drawn to 5-4 with runners in scoring position, Petricka unleashed his most vicious curve to strike out Asdrubral Cabrera before freezing Nick Swisher and sealing his escape. By the time the Indians were trickling another across on him in his second seventh, the Sox had already ran out too far ahead.
Maikel Cleto handled the eighth smoothly. Donnie Veal allowed a garbage-time RBI to Ryan Raburn, possibly out of contractual obligation. Alexei Ramirez added two more hits, scored and knocked a run in. He is napalm at the moment. Isn't everyone?
Team Record: 6-5
Next game is tomorrow at 1:10pm vs. the Indians on WGN
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