ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Chicago White Sox used a pair of seventh-inning homers to even the three-game series at a game apiece with a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night before 34,677 at Rangers Ballpark.
How it happened: Conor Gillaspie launched a home run over the right-field wall an estimated 384 feet to snap a 2-2 tie leading off the seventh. Two outs later Alejandro De Aza lined a two-run shot into the seats near the right-field foul pole, at 353 feet. The White Sox have homered in 10 straight games. Alex Rios staked the White Sox to a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single, scoring De Aza, who doubled to open the game. Paul Konerko opened the second with a double and, after a Gillaspie single, scored on Tyler Flowers’ double-play ball to make it 2-0. The Rangers tied it in the bottom of the second on a Jeff Baker home run and Ian Kinsler’s RBI single.
What it means: The White Sox ended a three-game losing streak with much improved play over the previous night’s 10-6 loss to Texas. For the second straight game, the White Sox couldn’t hold an early 2-0 lead. But Chris Sale kept middle-inning relief from becoming a factor by pitching seven innings. The bullpen, struggling with a 7.43 ERA in the last eight games, got the job done ... but not without an anxious moment or two. The first two Rangers that Jesse Crain faced in the eighth singled. But he worked out of trouble with final-out help from Matt Thornton. Addison Reed, who converted his 15th straight save, stirred the pot by hitting pinch hitter A.J. Pierzynski with two out in the ninth, followed by a single by Kinsler. But Reed ended it with a strikeout.
Outside the box: What is it about Sale and the American League West? With his win over the Rangers, Sale is now 8-0 against the West. He came into the game with an ERA of 3.18 in games against the West, with 69 strikeouts in 68 innings. Sale allowed only two Rangers to reach base in the final five innings of a strong seven-inning start. Once handed a three-run lead, Sale finished his night with a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, striking out two and fanning Kinsler on his 110th pitch. Sale held the hot Texas bats to six hits while striking out seven.
Offbeat: The White Sox caught a break in the second inning, when Kinsler’s line drive off the left-field wall with the bases loaded scored only one Rangers run. Credit left fielder De Aza’s quick recovery. Also credit some questionable base running. Geovany Soto, at second base, didn’t appear to get a good read on the ball. Craig Gentry, the runner at first, ran up on Soto and was only a few feet behind when touching second. Soto had to stop at third. Sale made it an important play by retiring the next two hitters to prevent further damage and keep the score 2-2.
Up next: Right-hander Jake Peavy (3-1), coming off a solid performance in a winning effort over the Tampa Bay Rays, will be opposed by Justin Grimm (2-0) in the conclusion of the three-game series with Texas in a 7:05 p.m. start Thursday at Rangers Ballpark. The forecast calls for a game-time temperature of 50 degrees after a cold front passes.