Sale enjoys amped-up setting vs. former club

Sale enjoys amped-up setting vs. former club

CHICAGO -- After giving up a season-high five earned runs (six total) in a season-low five innings during a 13-7 Boston victory over the White Sox on Tuesday night, Chris Sale could be excused if he wanted to quickly put the night at Guaranteed Rate Field behind him.

It was a highly charged emotional effort for Sale, who returned to face the only franchise he knew for the first seven years of his career in the city where he became a five-time All-Star. He also was pitching against Jose Quintana, his friend and former teammate.

But Sale looked forward to this challenge and felt the same way after improving to 6-2 on the season.

"Pitching against my buddies, my old team," Sale said. "Q's like a brother to me, too, so going up against him was fun.

"Obviously the end result wasn't what we had expected. By no means am I glad this is over. I wish I enjoyed it more, but it was something I was looking forward to."

Sale took the mound to a standing ovation following a scoreless first for Boston, something the southpaw truly appreciated. Most people expected a quick-paced, low-scoring affair between these two, but instead got a three-hour, 53-minute contest that included 34 hits.

"We were both off," Sale said. "People were expecting something a little different, but they came to a 7 o'clock batting-practice session tonight. You just chalk it up as a bad night and come back tomorrow ready to rock."

"I've had the great moments with him," Quintana said. "It was a little weird watching him out there."

That weirdness continued with Quintana lasting 2 2/3 innings and Sale giving everything he could to get through five innings on 111 pitches. He allowed a fourth-inning home run to Todd Frazier, with Frazier just missing on a long drive to center ending a three-run second.

Frazier and Sale joked Monday about the possibility of Frazier taking him deep. Back at SoxFest in January, a young fan asked Frazier if he would flip his bat if he homered off Sale, and Frazier said he might because it was so difficult to do.

There was no bat flip on Tuesday night.

Frazier's two-run homer

White Sox catcher Kevan Smith mentioned that both starters had a look in their eyes of really wanting to win this game. Sale had a chance to exchange pleasantries with his teammates on Monday, and while he was happy with Tuesday's outcome, he joked about not doing a great deal of smiling during the game.

"I kept them to a touchdown. I didn't let them get the extra point," Sale said. "I stunk tonight. I know it's a big deal because I'm facing my old team and this is where I played and all that stuff. But I was just bad, I really was, and my guys picked me up tonight.

"For me to be able to walk out of this building with my chin up and in a good mood and good spirits and all that and music playing in the locker room after the game, I had nothing to do with that. That says a lot about my teammates and who we've got in the clubhouse."

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.