CHICAGO (AP) — Alfredo Simon hasn’t had the easiest of seasons, battling inconsistency and injury. Even a solid eight-inning effort wasn’t good enough to beat Chris Sale.
Sale allowed one run over seven-plus innings and set a White Sox season strikeout record as Chicago beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1 on Friday night.
Simon (13-12) lost his third straight start, giving up two runs and five hits in eight innings. Last-place Detroit has dropped five of six.
“It’s been kind of a roller-coaster season for him – real good, real bad and tonight, he was real good.” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “Unfortunately, he was going against a pretty good pitcher on the other side of the diamond. I thought he pitched outstanding.”
Sale (13-11), who had lost four straight decisions since Aug. 21, was helped by J.B. Shuck’s diving catch in right field of a drive by Dixon Machado that ended the seventh.
Shuck dove and had the ball momentarily pop out of his glove before recovering and holding on to record the out.
“That was a great play,” Machado said.
By getting James McCann to look at a 3-2 breaking ball for the first out of the second inning, Sale struck out his 270th batter, one more than Hall of Famer Ed Walsh in 1908.
Sale’s record came on an eventful day for the White Sox. Earlier Friday, general manager Rick Hahn said he expected manager Robin Ventura to return and also announced the team will not be retaining bench coach Mark Parent.
Sale allowed Jefry Marte’s second-inning homer while giving up five hits and striking out seven to end his season with an AL high 274. Only Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (294) has more.
“It’s awesome, something that hasn’t set in yet but I know what it means,” Sale said of the franchise record. “I know what it is.”
David Robertson gained his 34th save in 41 tries, and Chicago won for only the second time in six games. Robertson struck out Nick Castellanos and Marte both looking. Both hitters weren’t pleased with the call by plate umpire Doug Eddings, especially in a one-run game.
“I’m going to say he had a bad inning,” Ausmus said.
Marte gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead when he led off the second with a home run into the bullpen in left. Chicago went in front 2-1 in the third on Adam Eaton’s two-run double.
That was the only inning that Simon really struggled; he induced 13 groundball outs in eight innings.
“When I throw the ball down, everything works for me,” Simon said. “It was a really good game.”
Tigers: DH Victor Martinez (left quadriceps soreness) was held out of the lineup and is day to day. He left Monday’s game against Texas after sustaining the injury while advancing from first to third and hasn’t played since.
White Sox: C Tyler Flowers will have right knee surgery next week to remove floating cartilage.
Detroit RHP Justin Verlander (5-8, 3.39) faces Chicago RHP Erik Johnson (3-1, 3.45) on Saturday. Verlander has won his last two starts, allowing four earned runs in 13 innings.