ARLINGTON, Texas -- A pair of home runs in the seventh made of winner of Chris Sale in a 5-2 victory for the Chicago White Sox over the Texas Rangers Wednesday night at Rangers Ballpark.
Sale worked seven innings to raise his record to 3-2. He allowed just two runs on seven hits while striking out seven against the normally-potent Texas lineup. The White Sox, last in the AL Central, snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 11-15.
Sale rebounded from a rocky start to pitch deep into the ballgame.
"Something I've been really working on is keeping my composure, and you start getting in your own head, not only do you get yourself into trouble, you start messing with the team's game plan and all that," he said. "And I didn't want to take myself out of it. I didn't want to take this team out of it."
The AL West-leading Rangers dropped to 17-10 and 8-3 at home. The three-game set is tied 1-1 going into Thursday's rubber match. Texas has yet to lose a series this season.
Chicago took the lead in the seventh on the strength of two home runs to chase Texas starter Nick Tepesch. Conor Gillaspie (2-4) opened the inning with solo shot to right-center. Alejandro De Aza, who went 2-for-4, followed up with a two-run blast with two outs.
His Rangers teammates had nothing but praise for Tepesch, a rookie who dropped to 2-2.
"He did great," Elvis Andrus said. "He battled all the way through the end of that inning. He hung that pitch and (De Aza) put a good swing on it. He kept us in the game. We had a lot of opportunities to score and give him a comfortable lead, and it didn't happen."
The Rangers made some noise in the eighth inning getting the first two men on against reliever Jesse Crain. With the help of Matt Thornton, the White Sox escaped unscathed.
Addison Reed pitched the ninth to earn his ninth save, despite allowing the tying run to bat with two outs.
After some fireworks early, Tepesch and Sale settled into a groove. The game was tied 2-2 through six innings, with neither side scoring after the second inning.
Tepesch ran into trouble in each of the first two innings when he allowed leadoff doubles. The White Sox pounded out four hits, but the Rangers rookie limited the damage.
Alex Rios had a RBI single in the first to bring Jeff Keppinger home for a 1-0 Chicago lead.
Chicago loaded the bases with none out in the second, but a double-play ball from Tyler Flowers plated one run. Dewayne Wise grounded out to end the threat.
"Locating my pitches a little better," Tepesch said of his problems early. "Commanding them in the first, I was leaving stuff over the plate."
The Rangers tied the game in the bottom of the second, but also failed to maximize their scoring opportunities against Sale. Jeff Baker started the scoring with a home run, his second in two nights.
Ian Kinsler singled off the wall in left with the bases full and one out, but the Rangers only scored once. Andrus struck out and Lance Berkman grounded out to end the second.
Geovany Soto made a base-running mistake at second, electing to tag up instead of going halfway to third on Kinsler's near grand slam.
"If you read it properly off the bat, you score for sure," Texas manager Ron Washington said.
The White Sox knew they were lucky to get out of the inning so lightly.
"The one inning, just seemed like there were people all over the place," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "For him to come out of it only giving up two to that lineup, he kind of gutted through it."
NOTES: Chicago optioned left-handed reliever Donnie Veal to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday and recalled right-handed reliever Brian Omogrosso. The 29-year-old Omogrosso joined the team for Wednesday's game. Omogrosso made 17 relief outings with a 2.57 ERA with the White Sox as a rookie last season. ... Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski (sore oblique) didn't start for the second straight game against his former club, but he did pinch-hit in the ninth. ... Keppinger returned to the lineup after missing four games with a back injury. ... Andrus started Wednesday despite his left calf tightening up during Tuesday's game. Andrus fouled a ball of his leg in the fifth inning.