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Sale finishes strong after 2nd-inning escape

5/2/2013

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The second inning began like it was going to be Chris Sale's downfall. Instead, it became a momentum-builder.

Sale was roughed up in the second stanza for four hits, including a home run. He also walked a batter.

Yet he escaped allowing only two runs.

Given new life, the left-hander with a mid-90s fastball breezed from there, shutting out the Texas Rangers over his final five innings in a 5-2 victory for the Chicago White Sox.

"The turning point was that second inning," Sale, who improved to 3-2 and lowered his ERA to 3.83, said. "Something I’ve had to learn is the game isn’t over in the second inning.

“I came out of that inning feeling strong mentally. I just kept pushing until the bullpen took over, and those guys kept it right where it was."

Some of the damage in the second inning came from the Rangers hitting good pitches.

"But a couple were bad pitches," Sale admitted.

Jeff Baker drove Sale’s low breaking ball over the left-field wall an estimated 393 feet to cut the White Sox lead to 2-1. A walk and singles by Geovany Soto and Craig Gentry loaded the bases. Ian Kinsler drilled a Sale pitch off the left-field wall, but due to a baserunning error by Soto, the Rangers produced only one score.

With a two-run lead gone and the bases loaded, Sale went to work. He struck out Elvis Andrus for the second out after a long battle and induced Lance Berkman into a fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop.

He went on to retire 10 Rangers in a row at one point.

"For him to come out of that inning only giving up two [runs] was big," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That’s a tough lineup he was facing. He kept them off balance."

Sale allowed six hits but only one after the second inning. He walked two and struck out seven. He finished strong, too, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh with a pair of strikeouts.

Stopping the White Sox’s three-game losing streak was important to Sale.

"When you want to stop a streak, it’s important to go out and do everything you can to get a win," he said. "That’s what I did."