Sale regains dominant form against Angels

Loses epic battle with Trout, works 7 1/3 for 10th win

Sale regains dominant form against Angels

CHICAGO -- It was a battle between one of the game's best pitchers in Chris Sale and one of the game's top hitters in Mike Trout. It took place in the fourth inning of an 8-2 White Sox victory over the Angels on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

Ultimately, the 13-pitch leadoff walk between the two, the longest career at-bat for either player per ESPN Stats & Info, didn't have a direct outcome on the game. But it still was entertaining to watch these two All-Stars try to win the individual battle.

"He was bringing it for sure," said Trout, who had two hits and once broke up a Sale perfect game in the seventh. "Any time you face him, it's a battle. It's a fun challenge. He's got good stuff, and I'm trying to hit it."

"You don't want to do that too often, but I enjoy things like that," said Sale, who threw 104 pitches over 7 1/3 innings. "When you're up against the best, you find out what you're made of. I walked him, so I really don't know what that means for me, but it's something you look back on and realize you enjoy stuff like that."

Sale fans seven to earn win

Sale had the count even on Trout at 2-2 before the Angels' superstar fouled off two 97-mph fastballs and then a slider. After Trout took another pitch outside the zone, he fouled off a changeup and three fastballs at 98, 99 and 98. Pitch No. 13 was another fastball located a bit outside.

"I was getting a little tired of it, to be honest with you," said a smiling White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers. "We executed a few good pitches late. He was able to foul them off and then the last one got away from Chris a little bit.

"Obviously [Trout's] a good player. He fouled off 97 up and in, down and away, changeups down and away, breaking balls going at his back foot. That was one where we were just like, 'Let's get this over with.' Too many pitches."

This encounter with the reigning American League Most Valuable Player stood as one of the few moments off the mark for the current AL Cy Young candidate. Sale bounced back from two subpar starts -- he allowed seven earned runs and didn't get through the sixth in each -- to yield two runs on five hits, while taking over the AL strikeout lead with seven punchouts.

Monday's effort was a good bounceback for the White Sox after getting swept in three one-run games in Kansas City, and a nice turnaround for the staff ace. He wasn't able to land Trout in the fourth, but had the Angels' hitters fishing the rest of the way.

"That was real fun. I gave him everything I had. It's a tough straw to pull right there," Sale said. "That's why he is who is and he's done what he's done. He's a tough out for anybody, I don't care who you are. He's going to battle you. That's why he's the best in the game."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.