CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox needed a big start from ace Chris Sale, and he nearly gave them something historic.
Sale took a perfect game into the seventh inning before finishing with a one-hitter, and Chicago beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 on Sunday night to avoid a three-game sweep. The left-hander retired the first 19 batters he faced before Mike Trout’s sharp single to center ended the perfect game bid with one out in the seventh, on his 70th pitch.
“I knew warming up in the bullpen I felt loose. My arm felt good tonight,” Sale said. “Warming up in the bullpen I felt like I was creating some good stuff and just wanted to transfer that out to the field, and it ended up working out tonight.”
Sale (4-2) struck out seven on just 98 pitches for his first career shutout and third win in his last four outings. The one-hitter was Chicago’s first since Zach Stewart had one on Sept. 5, 2011, at Minnesota.
The White Sox had lost two straight and were on the verge of being swept by a struggling Angels team. Before Saturday’s loss, manager Robin Ventura called a meeting to discuss the team’s woes.
“He understands how it’s been going,” Ventura said of Sale. “So it’s one of those you need a guy like that that can go out and put together a game like that and give you a chance.”
Sale pithed the third one-hitter in three days in the majors, joining St. Louis’ Shelby Miller and Boston’s Jon Lester, who both had theirs on Friday night.
Alexei Ramirez’s two-run two-out single in the bottom of the seventh drove in Tyler Flowers and Tyler Greene to give Sale the lead and chase Los Angeles’ C.J. Wilson. Alex Rios then doubled off reliever Michael Kohn to drive in Ramirez, who had three hits and scored a run.
Sale didn’t require much more support than that in a game the White Sox needed badly.
“I think he (Sale) just likes the big games,” Flowers said. “I guarantee you he knows everyone was watching on ESPN and that whole thing.”
Wilson (3-2) gave up three runs and six hits while striking out three and walking four in 6 2-3 innings. He lost his second straight decision after losing to Houston on Tuesday.
Wilson got no support from his offense. Other than Rios’ running catch against the wall on Howie Kendrick’s drive in the second, there weren’t any close calls for Sale.
“It just goes back to that competitive streak in you. You want to get that guy out there,” said Josh Hamilton, who was 0 for 3. “Even though he is having a phenomenal night, you want to hit it hard somewhere, or barrel it up, if they make a play, they make a play, tip your hat. He did a good job.”
Except for the seventh, Wilson pitched well enough to give the Angels what would have been a welcome sweep and four-game winning streak. They had lost five of seven before the series and won the first two in Chicago but fell Sunday to 10 games behind in the AL West.
“We need to carry some of the things we did well in this series forward,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think if there is one thing we saw in this series, is that we have the ability to pitch well and I think we have to carry that forward.”
For their part, the White Sox would like to prolong what happened Sunday.
Sale was eight outs away from the White Sox’s 19th no-hitter in team history and their fourth perfect game after Philip Humber (2012), Mark Buehrle (2009) and Charles Robertson (1922).
The 24-year-old said he started thinking about a perfect game or no-hitter around the fourth or the fifth, but didn’t sound disappointed with the one-hitter.
“I didn’t wake up this morning and say I’m going to throw a perfect game or a no-hitter,” Sale said. “I come to the ballpark every day when I’m pitching and say I just want to keep my team in this game and I want to win this game.”
RANGERS 12, ASTROS
HOUSTON — Adrian Beltre’s three-run homer was one of his four hits, and David Murphy and Leonys Martin also homered as Texas completed a three-game sweep.
Texas set a season high for runs in winning its fourth in a row, and did it quickly. Beltre’s homer in the fifth made it 12-1.
Beltre doubled twice and drove in four runs. He homered for the second straight day, hitting a drive that was ruled a double and changed to a homer after a video review. Beltre connected off Edgar Gonzalez, signed by the Astros earlier in the day.
Chris Carter hit a three-run homer for Houston, Brandon Barnes added a two-run shot and Jason Castro had a solo homer.
The Astros have lost four straight at are 10-28, the worst 38-game start in team history, STATS said.
Nick Tepesch (3-3) got the win. Jordan Lyles (1-1) allowed 11 hits and a career-high eight runs in four innings.
YANKEES 4, ROYALS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Vernon Wells homered for the second straight game, Robinson Cano also connected and the New York Yankees beat Kansas City to wrap up a three-game sweep.
Hiroki Kuroda (5-2) won for the fifth time in six decisions.
The Yankees scored all their runs off Ervin Santana (3-2) and won their fifth in a row. Mariano Rivera closed to remain perfect in 15 save opportunities — he’s converted 29 straight against the Royals since 1998, his longest active streak against any team.
INDIANS 4, TIGERS 3, 10 INNINGS
DETROIT — Pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds hit a tiebreaking single in the 10th inning, and the Cleveland Indians downed Detroit.
Cleveland tied it in the ninth when Michael Brantley hit a two-out RBI single off closer Jose Valverde. Joe Smith (1-0) pitched the bottom of the inning, and the Indians took the lead in the 10th.
Reynolds won it with his single off Darin Downs (0-1).
Rich Hill got the first two outs of the Detroit 10th, and Cody Allen finished for his first career save.
The Indians took two of three from the defending AL champions. Cleveland has not lost any of its last seven series.
ORIOLES 6, TWINS 0
MINNEAPOLIS — Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Steve Pearce homered and the Baltimore Orioles defeated Minnesota.
Wei-Yin Chen (3-3) pitched five strong innings before leaving with a strained right oblique, and the Orioles won for the sixth time in eight games.
Scott Diamond (3-3) tied a career high by giving up six earned runs in 5 2-3 innings.
MARINERS 6, ATHLETICS 1
SEATTLE — Joe Saunders won his ninth straight decision at Safeco Field and Kendrys Morales hit a three-run homer, leading the Seattle Mariners over Oakland.
Saunders (3-4) improved to 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 13 career appearances at Safeco. He is 3-0 with an 0.94 ERA at home this year, but 0-4 with a 12.54 ERA on the road.
Tommy Milone (3-5) lost for the fifth straight start.
RAYS 4, PADRES 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Sean Rodriguez, Yunel Escobar and James Loney drove in late runs for the Tampa Bay Rays as they finished a three-game sweep of San Diego.
The Rays won their fifth in a row overall.
Roberto Hernandez (2-4) earned the win and Fernando Rodney got his 11th save. Eric Stults (3-3) took the loss.
SAN FRANCISCO — Pablo Sandoval splashed a home run into McCovey Cove to back Tim Lincecum’s strong pitching performance, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 5-1 to wrap up a 7-3 homestand.
Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro also homered for the Giants. Lincecum (3-2) struck out seven in seven scoreless innings to end a three-start winless stretch in which he went 0-2. He also stopped a four-start skid against Atlanta, beating the Braves for the first time since April 11, 2010.
Gregor Blanco had an RBI double for the Giants, who won a home series against the NL East for the first time since April last year. Atlanta dropped its third straight since taking the series opener — outscored 23-4 over the final three games.
Kris Medlan (1-5) lost his fourth straight decision. He is winless in six outings since his lone victory his first time out this year, April 4 against the Phillies.
ROCKIES 8, CARDINALS 2
ST. LOUIS — Jorge De La Rosa held St. Louis hitless into the seventh and Troy Tulowitzki’s three-run homer ended Colorado’s scoreless streak at 28 innings.
De La Rosa did not allow a hit until David Freese’s two-out single in the seventh, answering a pair of pitching gems by St. Louis over the weekend.
Charlie Blackmon added a two-run homer off Jaime Garcia (4-2) for the Rockies, who snapped a four-game skid. They finished with 11 hits after totaling three in consecutive shutout losses to rookie Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright.
The Cardinals lost for just the second time in 11 games. Pinch-hitter Matt Adams’ RBI single off Matt Belisle in a two-run ninth ended Colorado’s bid for a shutout.
De La Rosa (4-3) struck out seven and allowed two hits in seven innings.
PHILLIES 4, DIAMONDBACKS 2, 10 INNINGS
PHOENIX — Ryan Howard looped a two-run single to right field in the 10th inning after Philadelphia scored twice in the ninth to tie it against Arizona.
Shut down by Brandon McCarthy for the first eight innings, the Phillies rallied on Delmon Young’s run-scoring double and Domonic Brown’s RBI single off fill-in Diamondbacks closer Heath Bell. Philadelphia had 15 hits to salvage a series split after losing the first two games.
Jimmy Rollins singled with one out in the 10th off Matt Reynolds (0-1), and Chase Utley followed with a double for his fourth hit. Hitless with nine strikeouts in his previous 18 at-bats, Howard floated a single over Arizona’s drawn-in infield.
Justin De Fratus (1-0) got one out for his second career victory and Jonathan Papelbon earned his seventh save.
Gerardo Parra hit a leadoff homer against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick.
PIRATES 3, METS 2
NEW YORK — Pedro Alvarez hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning against New York’s overworked bullpen, and Pittsburgh got a most fortunate bounce in beating the Mets.
Clint Barmes homered and Jeanmar Gomez left with a lead against young ace Matt Harvey in the Pirates’ third straight victory in this four-game series. Pittsburgh improved to 6-13 at Citi Field.
With runners at second and third in the eighth, Lucas Duda hit a sharp grounder that struck first base and shot straight up in the air. Pirates second baseman Brandon Inge fielded the ball and tossed to reliever Mark Melancon covering first for the final out of the inning.
Jason Grilli pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th straight save to start the season.
Justin Wilson (3-0) got the win despite allowing Mike Baxter’s tying single in the seventh. Scott Rice (1-2) took the loss.
REDS 5, BREWERS 1
CINCINNATI — Don Lutz hit his first career home run, a three-run drive off the right-field foul pole in the second inning that led Cincinnati over Milwaukee for a three-game sweep.
Lutz, who made his big league debut on April 29, homered off Wily Peralta (3-3). Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul went deep in the seventh, sending the Brewers to their fourth straight loss and ninth in 10 games.
Bronson Arroyo (3-4) ended a four-start winless streak, allowing five hits in 6 2-3 scoreless innings with one walk and five strikeouts. He had been 0-3 since beating Philadelphia on April 15.
Dusty Baker got his 1,603rd win as a manager, moving past Hall of Famer Fred Clarke into sole possession of 17th place on baseball’s career list. He is 16 behind Ralph Houk.
CUBS 2, NATIONALS 1
WASHINGTON — Alfonso Soriano scored the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning on a throwing error by catcher Kurt Suzuki as Chicago rallied to beat Washington.
The Cubs didn’t have a baserunner through the first five innings against Gio Gonzalez and trailed 1-0 entering the eighth before coming back in the deciding matchup of a three-game series.
Facing closer Rafael Soriano (0-1) in the ninth, Alfonso Soriano singled and went to second on a single by Julio Borbon. After Ryan Sweeney struck out, both runners took off on a double steal.
Suzuki’s throw hit Welington Castillo’s bat. The ball veered well to the left of third base and into foul ground, allowing Alfonso Soriano to scoot home.
Starlin Castro tied it in the eighth with a two-out single off Drew Storen.
James Russell (1-0) worked an inning and Kevin Gregg got three outs for his sixth save.
DODGERS 5, MARLINS 3
LOS ANGELES — Chris Capuano pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Scott Van Slyke homered to lead Los Angeles over Miami.
Capuano (1-2) allowed a run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. Brandon League gave up a two-run double to Adeiny Hechavarria in the ninth.
The Dodgers, who ended an eight-game slide Saturday night, took two of three in the series. They remain last in the NL West with a 15-21 record and trail division-leading San Francisco by seven games.
Marlins rookie Tom Koehler (0-1) went five innings in his second big league start and first this season, yielding two runs and seven hits. Justin Ruggiano homered for Miami.
Van Slyke, recalled from the minors Friday, also had an RBI single. Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 11 games and got his 1,000th career hit.