David Phelps pitched very, but Chris Sale pitched even better, and in the end, it was the better pitcher's team that won, as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Yankees, 3-2, in a pitcher's duel on Thursday night at US Cellular Field.
Phelps gave the Yankees some much needed innings, going seven innings as he gave up just two runs on six hits. Sale, on the hand, took a perfect game into the 6th inning before Zoilo Almonte singled with two outs in the inning to break up the perfecto.
The Yankees tried putting to getting a late 9th inning rally, because they like making me delete my recaps after they're already written. Ichiro singled to become the Yankees' second base runner of the night. Derek Jeter walked with two outs, then both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third with two outs for Mark Teixeira, who lined a single up the middle to score two runs, making it a one-run game.
But that's were it would end because Alfonso Soriano struck out on a questionable full-count pitch to end the game. The Yankees were swept by the White Sox in Chicago last season, and this series is off to the same start.
The White Sox scored all of their runs with two outs, and the first two came with two down in the 2nd inning. Paul Konerko and Alejandro De Aza hit back-to-back doubles to plate the first run, and then after Tyler Flowers walked, Adam Eaton singled to left field to score De Aza, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead.
Phelps settled in very nicely after that second inning, giving up just two hits over his next five innings, without any walks either. Phelps hadn't made it past six innings in any of the three starts this season coming into the game, so for him to give the Yankees seven very solid innings tonight, it was a big help for the bullpen that put in a lot of work against the Cubs in their 13 inning match on Wednesday.
Alfredo Aceves took over for Phelps to begin the 8th inning, and if you were expecting him to pitch well for once, you were asking for too much. Gordon Beckham doubled to open the inning, then Adam Dunn hit a two-out single to drive in the run, extending the lead to 3-0.
The three runs were more than enough for the White Sox to get Sale his 4th win of the season -- this was his first start off the DL. Sale, dominated, obviously, striking out 10 without a walk in six -- near perfect -- innings. He only threw 86 pitches, but like I said, this was his first start after missing more than four weeks with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm, so there was no need to push him.
Here's an interesting stat on Sale from this game, provided by Katie Sharp on Twitter: Sale is the first pitcher in at least last 100 years with 10+ strikeouts, no walks, zero runs and one hit or fewer allowed against the Yankees. Impressive.
The second game of this four-game series is tomorrow night at 8:05 pm, as the Yankees, who have lost three of their last four games, will hand the ball to Hiroki Kuroda, with the White Sox sending a former top pitching prospect of the Yankees' farm system, Hector Noesi, to the mound.