When Lloyd McClendon's lineup for Friday night's tilt between the White Sox and Mariners was posted about four hours before first pitch, one had to assume it would be a rough night for Seattle's offense.
Sending out six left-handed hitters against Chris Sale — who has been borderline untouchable against lefties this season — didn't seem the wisest strategy.
What one couldn't assume is how the White Sox's offense would fare against Seattle starter Roenis Elias.
Well, Sale was as dominant as expected and Jose Abreu & Co. provided the Fourth of July Fireworks show as the White Sox cruised to a 7-1 victory in the first of three games at U.S. Cellular Field.
The offensive showcase started in the fourth inning when Dayan Viciedo belted a solo shot off Elias — one of his four hits on the night — to break the scoreless deadlock, but things spiraled out of control for the Seattle southpaw an inning later when the White Sox put up four runs, highlighted by Abreu's league-leading 27th home run, a two-run blast. He also extended his hitting streak to 18 games.
Staked to a 5-0 lead after five innings, Sale took it from there. The ace lefty, likely to be named an All-Star on Sunday, allowed more than one baserunner in just two innings and didn't allow the Mariners' lone tally until the 9th inning when the game was already well out of reach.
He finished with 12 strikeouts in the complete game and lowered his ERA to 2.16 in the process. His outing also registered an 83 in Bill James' Game Score, the third highest mark of his career, per Baseball Reference.
The oft-forgotten Paul Konerko joined in on the firework show, as well, belting his fifth home run of the season in the eighth inning off of Charlie Furbush.
The White Sox face a stricter test on Saturday when Jose Quintana squares off against perennial Cy Young candidate Felix Hernandez.
Team Record: 41-46
Next Game: Saturday at 1:10 p.m. vs. Seattle on WGN
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