Sale digs deep to pull away from wins leaders

Sale digs deep to pull away from wins leaders

CHICAGO -- For one inning during a 5-3 White Sox victory over the Tigers Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, Chris Sale looked beatable.

Over Sale's other six innings, the White Sox ace pitched like the first 11-game winner in the Major Leagues this season. Sale also threw 119 pitches, one below his season-high, taking advantage of Thursday's team off-day to go a little extra.

"I'm fine. Everyone has to put in extra hours at work, so it's part of it," a smiling Sale said. "That's my goal every time out, get as deep into the game as I can. We use our bullpen quite a lot. Those guys are tough down there, but you try to give them a break when you can."

Sale earns win No. 11

"We knew we had the day off, and I wasn't counting the four we walked Miggy on," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said, referring to an intentional walk of Miguel Cabrera in the third inning.

Sale's blip came in that third when he allowed three runs on five hits, including a two-run homer by Jose Iglesias. The left-hander yielded six hits in total for the evening, with his seven strikeouts moving him into sole possession of sixth place in franchise history at 1,104.

But even with Sale's impressive work, the team did find itself in a 3-1 deficit after three innings. So the always team-directed Sale was more impressed by the comeback than any of his individual work.

Ventura on Sale and Anderson

"Not only do they come back and get you out of it, but they get you a win as well," Sale said. "There are some things you can't evaluate, and I think that's one of them.

"Those guys coming up big for me and the team tonight, it's huge, especially taking the series before we go on the road. Hopefully that gives us the boost we need."

Sale improved to 4-2 with a 5.15 ERA over seven starts against American League Central opponents this season. He's ready for the grind among four teams right down to the finish.

"It's a marathon, and you can't falter early on and get down on yourself because of what's going on," Sale said. "There's a lot of baseball left, and you have to build confidence and keep pushing forward."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.