Sale’s 15 K’s help White Sox end Cubs’ nine-game win streak
CHICAGO — It took another dominant performance by White Sox ace Chris Sale to slow down the Chicago Cubs.
Sale matched a career high with 15 strikeouts while pitching seven scoreless innings, and the White Sox snapped the crosstown Cubs’ nine-game win streak with a 3-1 victory on Sunday.
Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera and Alexei Ramirez homered for the White Sox, who had lost 10 of 15. Abreu, Cabrera and Carlos Sanchez had two hits apiece.
Sale (11-7) allowed one hit — Dexter Fowler’s one-out single in the sixth — and walked two. It was his 11th double-digit strikeout game of the year and ran his total for the season to a major league-best 208 K’s.
"I always enjoy playing the Cubs," Sale said. "The atmosphere alone, this was probably the best atmosphere I’ve ever pitched in, honestly."
The Cubs were trying for their first double-digit win streak since they won 12 in a row in 2001. But Dan Haren (8-8) allowed the three homers in his 4 2/3 innings, and the Cubs struck out 18 times in all.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the sixth, but Sale struck out Jorge Soler looking to end the inning. The lanky left-hander improved to 2-0 with a sparkling 0.64 ERA in two starts against the North Siders this year.
"He made us look silly. But that’s what he does," Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
David Robertson allowed Soler’s two-out homer in the ninth before finishing for his 24th save in 30 chances. Addison Russell reached on an infield hit after a replay challenge overturned the call on the field, but Starlin Castro grounded out to end the game.
Abreu hit his 22nd homer in the third. Ramirez connected in the fourth, and Cabrera added his eighth homer in the fifth on a hot day. It was 94 degrees at first pitch.
"This is what I grew up playing baseball in," said Sale, who is from Lakeland, Fla. "I felt comfortable. You get a little sweat going and you stay loose."
Haren, who was acquired in a July 31 trade with Miami, has allowed 27 home runs this season. He was struck in the right foot by a hard Sanchez grounder in the second. After throwing a few warmup pitches, Haren stayed in the game and got two popouts.
The Cubs had won 15 of 16. Rookie Kris Bryant went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, ending his 12-game hitting streak.
"A couple of guys, he executed every pitch in every at-bat," White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said about Sale. "He’s tough when he doesn’t hit spots. And when he does, it’s almost impossible."
LOTS OF K’S
Nate Jones struck out the side in the eighth as the White Sox finished with their most strikeouts in a nine-inning game in franchise history. The Sox had 19 strikeouts in a 16-inning game against Seattle in 2013.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said rookie OF Trayce Thompson has made an impression since he was promoted Aug. 3, and having him is part of the reason the Sox designated veteran INF Emilio Bonifacio for assignment before the game. Thompson is 6 for 12 with a home run.
"Where we’re at and what we have, Trayce is a really good option," Ventura said, noting the Sox will face left-handed pitching this week and Thompson is a right-handed hitter.
Thompson is the brother of the Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson.
White Sox: OF J.B. Shuck was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list. Shuck went on the DL on Aug. 1 for a strained left hamstring.
Cubs: After an off day on Monday, the Cubs begin a two-game series against Detroit. RHP Jason Hammel (6-5, 3.10 ERA) pitches for Chicago against RHP Anibal Sanchez (10-10, 4.95 ERA).
White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon (5-4, 4.61 ERA) starts Monday in the opener of a four-game series against the Angels. LHP Andrew Heaney (5-1, 2.53 ERA) will pitch for Los Angeles.