White Sox top Mariners 4-2
Chris Sale gets first major league complete game
CHICAGO — The Seattle Mariners knew what to expect this time around from Chris Sale.
That didn’t make it any easier for them.
Kevin Millwood struggled to hit his spots and the Mariners managed just five hits against the young lefty in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Sale (7-2) struck out eight and walked two in his first major league complete game. It was his 10th start this year after pitching in relief for Chicago during the last two seasons.
In Sale’s previous start, he struck out 15 in 7 1-3 innings at Tampa Bay. He struck out 11 Mariners on April 20 in a 7-3 victory in Seattle.
“Throwing from that angle, it’s tough to pick up — when you do, it’s right on you,” Dustin Ackley said of the lanky, side-arming lefty. “The angle, how hard he throws, how long he is, all makes it pretty tough.”
Sale allowed White Sox manager Robin Ventura to rest his entire bullpen after Chicago used all seven relievers in Saturday’s taxing 12-inning loss. The Mariners were not so fortunate.
Staked to an early two-run lead, Millwood (3-5) walked five batters, and allowed four runs and seven hits in four innings. He struck out four.
After loading the bases in the second, Brent Lillibridge took a 3-2 pitch that was just off the outside corner to cut the Seattle lead to 2-1. Millwood prevented further damage by getting Gordon Beckham to ground out.
In the third inning, Millwood walked Adam Dunn leading off, then hit Dayan Viciedo with a pitch. Alex Rios tied the game with an RBI single.
“I wasn’t locating my fastball very well,” Millwood said. “For the most part, I was able to keep the ball on the ground, but they found some holes. I walked too many guys. Just wasn’t able to make pitches when I needed to.”
The White Sox took the lead in the fourth on Beckham’s RBI single and a hard grounder by Rios that ricocheted off Millwood’s foot. Shortstop Brendan Ryan fielded the ball and made an off-balance throw that was too late to get Rios, allowing another run.
“I thought it was going up the middle and stuck my foot out. I guess I misdirected it a little bit too much,” Millwood said. “That’s another situation where I was able to get the ground ball, just in a bad spot.”
The 23-year-old Sale threw 119 pitches and made only one mistake. Miguel Olivo hit a long, two-run homer to straightaway center on an 0-1 pitch in the second inning. The home run was measured at 448 feet and it was Olivo’s fourth of the season.
The Mariners failed to advance a runner beyond second base after that.
“He did a good job pitching in, he did a good job pitching from behind,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He pitched a good ballgame against us. He just kept making pitches when he needed to.”
Sale entered the ninth with 100 pitches. He allowed a leadoff single by Jesus Montero, but got Justin Smoak to hit into a double play. Ackley followed with a single and Sale finished the game off by getting Olivo to strike out after a nine-pitch at-bat.
“It was tough. Obviously the last hitter of the game, you’re just bearing down,” Sale said. “He got me early. I was just really trying to keep the ball down to him.”
NOTES: Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez (tweaked back) “still feels it today” and is limited in his activity, according to Wedge. Wedge believes Hernandez will make his next scheduled start on Wednesday. He plans on making the decision on Monday. … White Sox CF Alejandro De Aza missed the game because of illness. 1B Paul Konerko and C A.J. Pierzynski had the day off. … White Sox OF Kosuke Fukudome, who got a rare start, left the game early because of back stiffness.