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updated: 8/22/2012 11:14 PM

Sale improves to 15-4 as Sox sweep Yankees

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  • Chris Sale improved to 15-4 and lowered his ERA to 2.65 during the White Sox' 2-1 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

    Chris Sale improved to 15-4 and lowered his ERA to 2.65 during the White Sox' 2-1 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

  • Gordon Beckham (15) greets Kevin Youkilis at the dugout after Beckham scored on Youlilis' sacrifice fly during the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in Chicago.

    Gordon Beckham (15) greets Kevin Youkilis at the dugout after Beckham scored on Youlilis' sacrifice fly during the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in Chicago.
    Associated Press

  • A.J. Pierzynski, left, and right fielder Alex Rios celebrate their 2-1 win over the New York Yankees after a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in Chicago.

    A.J. Pierzynski, left, and right fielder Alex Rios celebrate their 2-1 win over the New York Yankees after a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in Chicago.
    Associated Press

 
 

It seems like nothing in major-league baseball is official until the Yankees are involved, so we can now safely say Chris Sale has officially arrived.

The White Sox' left-hander did make 3 relief appearances against New York the past two seasons, but Wednesday night was his first career start against the vaunted Yanks.

It was worth the wait.

"We always feel we have a great chance to win when Chris goes out there," manager Robin Ventura said after Sale and the Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Yankees with a 2-1 victory at U.S. Cellular Field. "I think this is one of those games where he's going up against a lineup, that he's seen a lot of these guys even before he was drafted.

"So a great game by him. It really was."

It was another great game from the White Sox' 23-year-old ace, who raised his record to 15-4 and lowered his ERA to 2.65 after pitching 7 innings and allowing 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 13.

Sale has low-keyed his rapid rise and amazing success throughout the season, and shutting down a powerful Yankees lineup did nothing to change that.

"Obviously, you come in and all that stuff is running through your head, but at the same time I just try to not let that get to me no matter what the team is, who the batter is," Sale said. "I've still got to execute pitches. They're a good hitting team and I just focused on trying to make quality pitches."

How good was Sale? Let's turn it over to the Yankees.

"He's funky," said Derek Jeter, who supplied all of New York's offense with a solo home run in the sixth inning. "He's got a funky motion. He's especially tough on lefties. He throws hard. His fastball moves, a lot of off-speed pitches, which is surprising considering how hard he throws.

"He can overpower you when he needs to, but we didn't get much going off of him at all. Evidently, he's been doing it to most of the league."

Cleanup hitter Mark Teixeira doubled off Sale leading off the second inning and was almost surprised.

"Chris Sale was pretty incredible," Teixeira said. "I never faced him before. It's like facing a closer three times. The guy throws 95-96 (mph) from a tough angle, very tall, three plus-pitches.

"It's difficult to face a guy like that. There's a reason why his numbers are so good."

Alex Rios has solid offensive numbers for the White Sox, and he came through again with a solo home run off N.Y. starter Phil Hughes in the bottom of the sixth inning to snap a 1-1 tie.

"He's a guy who throws a high percentage of fastballs, so I guessed right," Rios said of Hughes. "I knew I hit it good. I didn't know it was going to go out, but I knew I hit it good."

With the playoff-type win, the Sox swept a three-game series from the Yankees at home for the first time since 1991.

"If we get wins like that against any teams, it builds confidence," Addison Reed said after nailing down his 23rd save. "It's a little bit more against the Yankees."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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