CHICAGO – Chris Sale quickly erased an ugly night from his memory with the help of two new teammates.
Sale struck out 12 over eight-plus dominant innings and Avisail Garcia hit a three-run homer to lead the White Sox to a 6-1 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
Garcia finished with three hits for the White Sox, who have won 10 of their last 12 games.
Sale (10-12) bounced back from an embarrassing start Friday night against Texas in which he allowed a career-worst four home runs. Against Houston, he gave up only one run on four hits and left to standing ovation after allowing his second walk of the game.
After posting a 1.93 ERA while winning his previous three starts, Sale matched a career high by allowing eight runs over seven innings in an 11-5 loss to Texas. He said he was also embarrassed by how he treated home plate umpire Jerry Layne and the emotions he displayed in the dugout.
"Any time when you lose, and quite honestly get embarrassed, you always want to get back on the right foot, get out there and help your team. Honestly, the Garcia boys stole the show tonight. What an unbelievable job they did tonight. Big homer, I think both of them were involved in every run that was scored," said Sale.
Jeff Keppinger broke a 1-all tie in the seventh with a sacrifice fly off Astros reliever Lucas Harrell (6-15). Harrell then allowed back-to-back walks and Garcia followed with his first home run with the White Sox to put them up 5-1. Garcia was acquired from the Tigers in part of three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Red Sox.
"It's nice that he got it. But again, he is young and you're just letting him play. The strength and speed that he has is unusual for a lot of major leaguers. So it is nice to see his first home run with us and it came at the right time," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
Leury Garcia, acquired from Texas in a trade involving outfielder Alex Rios, walked twice and scored two runs while driving in a run on a sacrifice fly for Chicago. He started at shortstop for Alexei Ramirez.
Sale struck out the side in the first inning then got Robbie Grossman looking to end the third for his seventh strikeout. The left-hander struck out the side in the fifth, ending the inning by throwing a 96 mph fastball past Jonathan Villar.
Sale allowed Chris Carter's two-out solo shot in the seventh to tie the game 1-1. It was Carter's 26th of the season.
"There has been times where he let his emotions get him. But again tonight, not letting anything affect him as far as the score, even the home run, he just bounced back," said Ventura.
Sale became the first pitcher in White Sox history to have 12-plus strikeouts in four starts. He also dropped his ERA to 2.99. The 24-year old is aware of his early achievements.
"Yeah, but it is something I don't really want to clutter my mind with. I still have a job to do. Those are the things at the end of the season when you're at your house you might look back at them. For right now there is only one record that matters and that's our team record," said Sale.
Astros rookie starter Jarred Cosart got by a shaky first to pitch six innings in a no-decision, allowing one run. He pitched around seven hits and five walks with four strikeouts. Cosart lowered his ERA to 1.59 in five starts.
"A lot of it was I knew I was going against Sale," said Cosart. "I think I was trying to do too much. Kind of led to me being a little wild, you know you walk the lead off guy to start the game, anytime you walk the lead off guy it can hurt you.
"You take the first inning away, I probably would've been able to go seven or eight. But I ran up my pitch count and started off on a bad note, I guess. But you got to bear down in this game and I was able to calm myself down. Kind of a little excited and nerves, but I calmed myself down and was able to make some pitches."
The White Sox loaded the bases against Cosart in the first inning with no outs. After Dunn struck out, Konerko hit an RBI single. Cosart minimized the damage by getting Garcia to bounce into a double play.
NOTES: Grossman had his 14-game hitting streak snapped. ... White Sox OF Alejandro De Aza and SS Alexei Ramirez each got the night off.