Sale, White Sox outdueled in loss to Red Sox
CHICAGO – White Sox ace Chris Sale refused to hang his head after being outdueled by Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester.
Lester (2-2) pitched eight sharp innings and David Ross hit a tie-breaking RBI double in Boston's two-run ninth, leading the Red Sox to a 3-1 victory over the White Sox on Thursday night.
"He was spot-on tonight, he was filthy," said Sale, who gave up one run, one hit and struck out 10 over seven innings. "I don't think we got outhit, outpitched, we just got outlucked."
Lester allowed one run and seven hits for his second straight win after opening the season with two losses. The left-hander struck out nine and walked none, winning a pitcher's duel with Sale.
"It was good," Lester said. "Obviously, when you've got a guy going like Sale on the other side and he's throwing the ball as well as he did tonight, it's good to grind out those innings and get some runs on the board late for us."
Lester retired his first 16 batters before Tyler Flowers singled in the sixth. Xander Bogaerts homered with two out in the sixth for Boston's only hit off Sale.
The game was tied at 1 when Mike Napoli and pinch-hitter Mike Carp had consecutive one-out singles in the ninth for the Red Sox. Ross then doubled to right against Ronald Belisario (1-2), driving home Napoli.
"If you're a baseball fan that was a really good game tonight," Ross said. "Two big lefties — probably two of the best ones in the game going at it — and we came out ahead."
Jonathan Herrera added an RBI single against Scott Downs as the Red Sox captured the last two of their three-game set in Chicago.
Koji Uehara picked up his third save in three tries with a scoreless ninth, getting pinch-hitter Jose Abreu to ground to third to end the game.
Sale threw a career-high 127 pitches in seven innings. The left-hander was trying to become the first White Sox pitcher to start 4-0 since Jose Contreras in 2006.
Sale and Lester provided a big lift for tired bullpens on each team. The Red Sox used seven pitchers in a 6-4, 14-inning win Wednesday, while the White Sox used nine, including infielder Leury Garcia for one inning.
Sale got some help from center fielder Adam Eaton in the first inning. With two out, David Ortiz drove a 2-2 pitch to deep left-center field, but Eaton jumped and took a home run away by making a one-handed grab.
That was the closest either team came to scoring until Bogaerts connected for his first home run of the season, driving a 1-0 pitch deep to left.
The White Sox responded in the bottom half. Flowers got on to give Chicago its first baserunner and Garcia followed with a ground-rule double to right. Eaton then reached on an infield single, tying it at 1.
Sale said he was well aware of the dueling no-hitters – including Lester's perfect game – through five innings.
"Yeah. It's hard to miss when you look up there and there's nothing but zeroes," Sale said. "Who's going to crack first? I think I lost that one by about 490 feet (on Bogaerts' home run)."
Alexei Ramirez's two-out single in the ninth extended his season-opening hitting streak to 16 games, setting a White Sox record.
NOTES: Napoli was back in the lineup after missing Wednesday's game with a dislocated left ring finger. ... Abreu, who was 1 for his last 21 entering the game, was replaced in the lineup by Paul Konerko. ... Red Sox OF Shane Victorino is set to begin a three-game rehab assignment Saturday at Triple-A Pawtucket and could join Boston for his season debut later next week. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list March 31 with a hamstring strain. ... The White Sox purchased the contract of RHP Zach Putnam and designated LHP Donnie Veal for assignment. ... RHP John Lackey (2-1, 3.86 ERA) will start for the Red Sox on Friday in Boston against Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (1-1, 0.84 ERA). ... RHP Felipe Paulino (0-1, 7.98 ERA) will pitch Friday for the White Sox in Texas against LHP Martin Perez (2-0, 2.70 ERA).