Sale dominant as White Sox top Padres

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Robin Ventura is very glad his job nowadays entails managing the Chicago White Sox and not having to bat against a modern-day Randy Johnson.

Left-hander Chris Sale continuously made hitters look bad Sunday against the San Diego Padres. From a devastating changeup to a 95 mph fastball, Sale kept the Padres guessing.

Sale threw a two-hit complete game gem and Paul Konerko drove in three runs to lead the White Sox to a 4-1 win over the Padres.

Sale (5-0) was unhittable most of the game, limiting the Padres to one run on two hits. The left-hander struck out nine without issuing a walk for his first complete game since Aug. 12, 2013 against the Detroit Tigers. Sale, who was given a Gatorade shower by two teammates on the field following the final out, threw a first-pitch strike to 19 of the 28 batters he faced.

From his frame, arm angle and filthy pitches, Ventura believes Sale is the closest comparable pitcher in the majors today to Johnson, who the manager faced often during his career.

"He was fantastic today, even with his stuff," Ventura said of Sale. "As strong as he was really attacking the strike zone as soon as he got in there he was getting guys to swing early because he was throwing strikes. This was as efficient as he has been ever from watching him."

Sale carried a perfect game into the fifth inning, but it quickly ended. San Diego third baseman Chase Headley led off the fifth by hitting a 2-1 fastball Sale left down the middle of the plate for a solo home run to left field that tied the game 1-1.

Sale said he was aware of the circumstances but did not want to get caught up in potentially throwing a perfect game or no hitter.

"It's tough, that's why it is so tough to do that," Sale said. "I've been pretty deep into a few games this year, but that's why you gotta respect those guys and appreciate when it does happen, perfect games, no hitters, stuff like that because it's next to impossible."

The Padres (26-31) struggled to get anything going with Sale on the mound. Left fielder Tommy Medica followed Headley's 431-foot homer with a single that got past Adam Dunn at first base. But that was all San Diego could muster against Sale, who has been on a dominant stretch. In his last three starts, including Sunday's, Sale has 33 strikeouts while allowing two runs in 25 innings (0.72 ERA).

"You can see why this guy's one of the best pitchers in the American League: deceptive delivery, good velocity, really good change, good breaking ball," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He had it working today."

In what is likely his last start for the foreseeable future with first baseman Jose Abreu expected to be activated on Monday, Konerko delivered much-needed offense for the White Sox (29-29). Konerko, the White Sox's designated hitter, hit a two-out solo home run in the second inning off Padres left-hander Eric Stults for a 1-0 Chicago lead.

"Just trying to chip in," Konerko said of his performance. "I'm here to have good days against left-handed pitching like that, and you try to do your best on the other days when you have to play like it's been."

After Headley homered to tie the game in the fifth, catcher Tyler Flowers answered in the bottom of the inning with his own solo homer to put the White Sox ahead 2-1. Konerko padded Chicago's lead with a two-out, two-run double in the sixth.

Stults (2-6) tried to keep the Padres in the game, but the White Sox tagged him for four runs on five hits in six innings.

"Disappointed with the results, but felt like the stuff is good," Stults said. "Just one of those days where you have good stuff, but the results just don't line up, I guess."

NOTES: White Sox 1B Jose Abreu (posterior tibia tendonitis in his left ankle) is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Monday's game at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Abreu participated in a simulated hitting game before Sunday's game. Through a translator, Abreu said there are no limitations for his return and he is anxious to get back on the field. ... The White Sox optioned IF Marcus Semien to Triple-A Charlotte following Sunday's game to create a roster spot for Abreu on Monday. ... Padres manager Bud Black said RHP Tim Stauffer will start Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, his third start of the season. ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he will consider playing Adam Dunn in left field during their series at the Dodgers to keep his bat in the lineup.

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