Chris Sale was nearly perfect for the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night.
Outdueling C.J. Wilson, Sale threw a one-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels in a 3-0 win at U.S. Cellular Field, as the White Sox salvaged the final game of the three-game series.
"I said it early, if it was meant to be, it would have happened," Sale said. "It just didn't happen. No big deal. I didn't wake up this morning and say, 'I want to throw a perfect game or a no-hitter.' I come to the ballpark every day when I'm pitching and just want to keep my team in the game and win this game. We did. That's the most important part at the end of the day."
Sale (4-2) faced just one batter over the minimum en route to his third win in his past four outings. The 24-year-old left-hander fired 6 1/3 perfect innings before allowing Mike Trout's single up the middle. He struck out seven in the first shutout and second complete game of his career.
What pitch did Trout hit in the seventh?
"It was a fastball," Sale said. "Obviously it wasn't where I wanted it. You fall behind 2-0 to a guy like that and you just got to strap it on. He's one of the best in the game. There's no doubt about that. If you are going to give it up, you might as well give it up to him."
Wilson (3-2) went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs, but he put up all zeros until he couldn't escape a seventh-inning jam. It was the fifth time he worked his way into trouble. Unlike the previous four, Alexei Ramirez made sure the Angels starter paid a price in the seventh. Ramirez's two-out single drove in Tyler Flowers and Tyler Greene, giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead and knocking Wilson from the game.
Ramirez, who went 3-for-4, then scored on Alex Rios' double.
"We had some guys on, and (Wilson) would make a pitch and get out of it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Finally, Alexei comes through with that hit and then Rios. But it starts with the way Chris was pitching. You had that feel we were eventually going to break through."
Wilson, meanwhile, had a different feeling. It was sort of like deja vu from his days with the Texas Rangers.
"I remember a couple years ago, (Mark) Buehrle threw a no-hitter against us when I was with the Rangers, and this kind of had that same feel to it," Wilson said, referring to Buehrle's April 18, 2007 gem at U.S. Cellular Field. "It makes you nervous. It's like, 'Walk or get a hit or something. ... If this dude throws a perfect game, it's going to be awful.'"
After allowing the single to Trout, Sale cruised to the finish. He rung up four strikeouts after the fifth and he wound up throwing just 98 pitches. In the ninth, Sale got Luis Jimenez to ground into a double play for the first two outs after Ramirez's throwing error put Chris Iannetta on first as the Angels' only other runner of the game.
Sale ended the game by getting Alberto Callaspo to fly out.
In the second inning, Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton threw out Casper Wells at the plate after fielding a single by Tyler Flowers. It was the second game in a row that Hamilton nailed a Sox runner at the plate to end the second inning.
Sale's one-hitter was the third in the majors in three days. Boston Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester and St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller each tossed one-hitters Friday, Lester blanking the Toronto Blue Jays, Miller beating the Colorado Rockies.
"I gave up a hit right away, so obviously I wasn't throwing a no-hitter," Wilson said. "It was a really well-pitched game, and Sale just had video-game stuff tonight. He's got electric stuff ... four pitches, they're all nasty, and he was pounding the zone. It was a rough night for us."
NOTES: After the brief three-game homestand, the White Sox head back on the road to Minnesota and Anaheim for a seven-game stretch. Chicago will then return home and play 17 of 23 games at U.S. Cellular Field from May 20 to June 16. ... Chicago LHP John Danks (left shoulder surgery in August) made another rehab start Sunday afternoon for Triple-A Charlotte, throwing six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out five. Ventura said Danks is likely to make at least one more minor league appearance. ... Sox 1B/DH Adam Dunn was out of the starting lineup after going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in the first two games of the series. ... The Angels came into Sunday night's game 13-5 against the White Sox since 2011, including wins in five of eight meetings in 2012. ... RHP Barry Enright will get another start for the Angels on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, pitching again in place of RHP Tommy Hanson (restricted list). Angels manager Mike Scioscia said there is no timetable for the return of Hanson, who continues to deal with a death in the family. ... After throwing off a mound Thursday for the first time since going on the disabled list April 9 with a broken bone in his left (non-throwing) elbow, Angels RHP Jered Weaver is likely to go on a rehab assignment in a week. ... Los Angeles SS Erick Aybar (hamstring tightness) did not start but went through pregame drills for the second straight day.
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