CHICAGO - After giving up a career-high tying eight runs in his previous start, Chris Sale took out his frustrations by pounding an orange cooler in the Chicago White Sox's dugout with both fists.
Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, Sale pounded the strike zone against the Houston Astros in a 6-1 White Sox win to take the three-game series with a second victory in as many nights. Sale went eight-plus innings, struck out 12 and dominated an Astros lineup that was purposely devoid of left-handed hitters.
It was redemption for his last start, an ugly loss at home to the Texas Rangers last week. It was also payback for a tough-luck 2-1 defeat against Houston earlier this season - when Sale struck out 14, didn't allow an earned run and threw an eight-inning complete game at Minute Maid Park.
Despite getting the win in that game, Astros manager Bo Porter didn't forget what it was like for his team to face Sale. Prior to the game on Wednesday, he talked about his decision to sit his left-handed
hitters, including catcher Jason Castro - the reigning American League Player of the Week.
"Not too many guys hit this guy anyway, but the lefties really don't fare too well," he said. "So, we're going to try to run all those righties at him and see if we can create some offense off one of the best pitchers in our league."
The strategy obviously didn't work.
Sale struck out the first three hitters he faced and didn't let up the rest of the way. Chris Carter's 421-foot solo homer in the seventh - his second extra-base hit of the game - was the only damage Sale
allowed on the way to his fourth outing of 12 or more strikeouts this season.
Sale became the first pitcher in franchise history to log as many games in one season with at least 12 strikeouts - surpassing Javier Vazquez (2006) and Ed Walsh (1910).
His teammates also made sure he got a victory against the Astros this time, scoring four runs in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie, highlighted by Avisail Garcia's three-run homer to center field - his first as a White Sox player. Garcia led Chicago's 10-hit offensive attack by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Leury Garcia (no relation) scored twice and drove in a run while hitting leadoff in his first start at shortstop for the Sox.
Chicago added another run in the eighth for insurance and Sale picked up his 10th win of the year.
He started the ninth, but was replaced by Sox manager Robin Ventura after walking leadoff hitter L.J. Hoes - giving the announced crowd of 15,961 a chance to salute his effort as he left the mound to the song, "Come Sail Away."
Rookie Jarred Cosart started for the Astros and took a no-decision after throwing six innings and allowing just one run. Lucas Harrell took the loss.
The White Sox got the good version of Sale on Wednesday.
Right from the start, he was on a mission to redeem himself for a poor outing his last time out. After striking out the side in the first on 16 pitches, Sale then whiffed two in the second, two more in the third and fanned the side again in the fifth.
He did it while clinging to a 1-0 lead the Sox gave him in the first. Chicago loaded the bases with no outs but got just one run on Paul Konerko's RBI single. Cosart then settled down and matched Sale's zeros -- but not his strikeouts -- through the early going.
NOTES: White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez got his first night off after playing in 131 straight games to start the season. Rookie Leury Garcia, acquired in the recent deal that sent RF Alex Rios to the Texas Rangers, started at shortstop. ... Chicago will now embark on a 10-game road trip, starting in Boston on Friday. ... The White Sox wore their 1983 throwback uniforms, at Sale's request. ... The Astros started a lineup with all right-handed hitters against Sale, opting to sit Jason Castro, the reigning American League Player of the Week. ... Astros manager Bo Porter still hasn't received an update on injured catchers Max Stassi and Carlos Corporan, who are both on the seven-day concussion disabled list.