Chris Sale improves, but his luck stays the same

Well, you can't face Justin Verlander every night.

One night after rudely banishing the old lion of the Central into further ignominy, the White Sox offense...well, didn't do enough to fill out a sentence. To talk about the bottom half of the innings Thursday night, besides to wonder if the producers had time to breath before throwing it to commercial, is to talk about Max Scherzer, since he was one doing the work.

Scherzer threw his 100th pitch to lead off the ninth, after not yielding a hit until the fourth, and holding off on another until two outs in the eighth. He cruised to his first career shutout in 179 starts as the Tigers similarly glided to a 4-0 victory to prevent a sweep, and it's a wonder that Scherzer didn't achieve the feat sooner. Not that he always been great, but since he faced the 2013 Sox offense so many times.

The first hit off Scherzer in the fourth doubled as the only cogent scoring threat. Alexei Ramirez bent his legs and swooped a curving liner down into the left field corner, pushing Conor Gillaspie--who had reached on an error amid an 0-4 night--to third. But the chance to break things relatively open was just another stop on Dayan Viciedo's slide to hell. He flew out to left to end the inning and is now 2-35 in June.

A doink single would have given the Sox quite the head of steam. Chris Sale wasn't using the same instant-out elixir that Scherzer must have showered in, but he was certainly game. His own no-hit bid also went into the fourth, a hanging slider punished to the seats by a seemingly immortal Victor Martinez was his only mark against, and he made all his nerd stats look pretty with 10 strikeouts to no walks.

It wasn't an effortless night for Sale. He had to reach back for an extra gear to strike out Torii Hunter and Nick Castellanos to wrap-up the seventh with 116 pitches. And the heavy work meant the Sox bullpen--particularly the rookie pair of Jake Petricka and Daniel Webb--had to team up to keep things close and...didn't. Petricka was doomed when Gordon Beckham dropped a potential inning-ending dribbler from Miguel Cabrera to produce the rare two-run infield single in the eighth, and Webb continued the new franchise tradition of giving up RBI hits to Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holiday in the ninth.


Box Score

Team Record: 33-34

Next Game: Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT vs. Kansas City on CSN


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