CHICAGO -- Chris Sale's personal winless streak ended at six Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox left-hander allowed three hits over eight scoreless innings, matching a season high of 120 pitches. He received plenty of run support and cruised to a 6-2 victory over the A's. The win evens the weekend series at one win apiece, after Oakland claimed a 9-0 decision in the series opener.
"We scored the first four innings right out of the gate? That helps, too. That alleviates a little bit of the pressure," Sale said. "You see your guys fighting. I think it was the third inning, scored all with two outs. When stuff like that goes, you kind of feed off of that and build momentum and try to execute some pitches."
"He had a couple 96s up there. He was great all night," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He just was in control. First inning got a big double-play ball, and after that he just seemed to kind of maneuver his way through it. It was good stuff."
Sale had last won on July 2 at Houston and had been 0-4 with a 4.43 ERA since. He allowed four hard-hit balls in the first on Saturday, including singles from Jake Smolinski and Danny Valencia, but he escaped unscathed courtesy of Khris Davis' double-play ground ball. The A's didn't put more than one man on base in an inning after the first against Sale, with the left-hander striking out eight and five of the last seven hitters he faced. Oakland scored twice in the ninth against right-hander Nate Jones, with Valencia collecting his 15th home run to open the inning.
Every White Sox starter except designated hitter Justin Morneau had a hit against A's starter Ross Detwiler, who allowed six runs on 10 hits over four innings. Five players drove in runs, with Melky Cabrera finishing with two RBIs.
"I thought his stuff was pretty good, but he left a couple breaking balls up, and I think probably the location of the fastball a couple times," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Detwiler. "Give them some credit, too. They shot the ball the other way and had some good at-bats, but it seemed like it all happened with two outs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Something for Dariel: When Jose Abreu's 5-year-old son, Dariel, arrived in the United States from Cuba, his one on-field request for his dad was to hit a home run. The White Sox first baseman accomplished that goal in the first inning, taking Detwiler the other way. The line drive landed just out of the reach of A's right fielder Brett Eibner and cleared the fence. It was Abreu's 15th home run.
Trouble with two outs: Detwiler was done in by extensive damage with two outs, allowing seven of his 10 hits in such situations, resulting in four runs. The left-hander has been tagged for a combined 11 earned runs across just 8 2/3 innings in his last two starts after beginning his A's tenure with eight scoreless innings against the Orioles.
"I was getting ahead of guys earlier in the game and just wasn't putting them away," Detwiler said. "I think a lot of the balls were up."
Who else would it be? Smolinski, who appeared to have the best approach against Sale, launched a drive toward right-center to open the sixth inning. Center fielder Adam Eaton was shaded toward the left but made the long run to make the catch, running into the fence after the grab. Sale pounded his glove in approval after the play. Eaton also grabbed a long blast off the bat of Chad Pinder to end a tenuous ninth inning with the tying run on deck and preserve what once was a 6-0 White Sox lead.
"In baseball, you see that the tying run usually comes on deck. We do it whether it's 2-1 or 6-0," Ventura said. "But yeah, it seems like we have nerve-wracking games all the time. [Closer David Robertson] came in and picked Nate up. Nate's been doing it for us all year, and he'll continue to do that. He's allowed to have rough one now and again."
Pinder debuts: Pinder, the A's No. 9 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, made his big league debut Saturday, drawing a start at second base while batting ninth against Sale, who naturally proved to be no easy task. Pinder grounded out sharply to Sale in his first Major League at-bat and finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, his final at-bat resulting in a drive toward the center-field warning track that was snagged to end the game. He'll be back in the A's lineup Sunday against White Sox lefty Jose Quintana.
"It looked like he started to loosen up there a little toward the end," Melvin said. "You can get a little tight. Now I didn't give him the greatest assignment in the world for his first Major League game. But that last at-bat was a really good at-bat. Looked like he was a little more comfortable, so I think going into tomorrow he should take some confidence from that last at-bat."
"Nobody in here has given up. We have too much pride in ourselves and what we do. When you look around this clubhouse, we have some pretty good guys, guys that compete. At the end of the day, that's all you can ask for. Anything that happens after that, you can live with it." -- Sale, on the competitive spirit in the White Sox clubhouse
With Chicago up 6-1 in the ninth with one out and Jones pitching, A's catcher Stephen Vogt grounded to second baseman Carlos Sanchez, who threw to shortstop Tim Anderson covering second. The rookie took the throw and second-base umpire Rob Drake initially called Ryon Healy out at second. The A's challenged that Anderson's foot wasn't on the base when he received the throw, and Healy was ruled safe after a review.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: The A's originally planned to have right-hander Jesse Hahn come off the disabled list Sunday and pitch against the White Sox, but Hahn suffered a setback with his right shoulder, paving the way for right-hander Zach Neal to take the mound in the 11:10 a.m. PT finale. Neal has a 7.98 ERA in three starts this season.
White Sox: Quintana makes his third attempt at the first 10-win season of his under-supported career at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday. He lost his last start against the Indians and finished with a no-decision in his previous trip to the mound against the Royals, but he has a 4-1 record with a 2.21 ERA over his last eight starts overall.