Sale's two spotless innings earn win in All-Star Game
Southpaw strikes out two in second Midsummer Classic
NEW YORK -- One year after pitching a scoreless frame in his All-Star debut, White Sox ace Chris Sale upped the ante in his second Midsummer Classic.
The southpaw hurled a pair of perfect innings on his way to earning the win Tuesday night, striking out two and allowing just one ball to leave the infield as the American League defeated the National League, 3-0, in the 84th All-Star Game at Citi Field.
Having not pitched since Thursday, Sale was called on for two innings of work after American League starter Max Scherzer hurled a perfect first. Sale picked up right where Scherzer left off, retiring the side in order in the second on just nine pitches and following suit in the third on 15 pitches.
Scherzer and Sale set the table for what proved to be a dominant night on the mound for the AL. In all, 10 AL pitchers combined to allow just three hits and one walk, while striking out eight NL All-Stars in the shutout.
"It was awesome," Sale said. "Being able to see that and experience that, it was fun for me to be part of that pitching staff out there tonight."
Sale started his night by forcing Mets hometown favorite David Wright to ground out on his first pitch before striking out Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on a hard-breaking slider. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina flied out to center field to end the inning.
The Sox lefty returned in the third and promptly struck out Gonzalez's teammate, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. He followed by forcing yet another Rockies All-Star, designated hitter Michael Cuddyer, to ground out weakly back to the mound before ending his outing by getting Chevrolet Home Run Derby runner-up Bryce Harper to line out to third base.
"I was just trying to get in the zone," Sale said. "Just trying to get a feel for it and just get in a rhythm out there. Obviously, throwing to a catcher like Joe [Mauer], he's awesome, a class act and he's great. So I just went off his lead and we were able to make it work."
Sale had earned his second consecutive All-Star berth by posting a 2.85 ERA and 131 strikeouts over 120 innings in his 17 first-half starts. He entered the break with a deceiving 6-8 record, mostly the result of receiving less run support than any other qualified American League starter.
The other White Sox All-Star representative, Jesse Crain, was unavailable to pitch Tuesday night because of a sprained right shoulder. Pitching in his 10th big league season, the first-time All-Star posted a 0.74 ERA with 46 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings in the season's first half. He also set a White Sox franchise record by completing 29 straight appearances without allowing a run from April 17-June 22, surpassing J.J. Putz's previous record of 27.
"It was fun to watch. Our pitchers went out there and threw great," Crain said. "To be here and be part of this game here in New York, it was pretty special for me."