CHICAGO — After ending their four-game losing streak last night, the Chicago White Sox (35-37) once again took care of the San Francisco Giants (43-29), sweeping their two-game interleague set with a 7-6 win.
Following the 8-2 result last night, Wednesday’s matinee looked headed towards a similar result early on. Chris Sale (W, 6-1, 2.20 ERA) was nearly perfect in the top of the first, striking out the side despite a hard-hit single from Buster Posey.
Jose Abreu smashed a line drive home run to left field in the bottom of the first, scoring Conor Gillaspie. It was Abreu’s 20th long ball of the season, and he became the third fastest in MLB history to reach the 20-home run mark.
After the first inning, the anticipated pitchers’ duel between Sale and Tim Hudson (L, 7-3, 2.39 ERA) seemed like it would live up to its billing.
Hudson was playing with fire all afternoon though, and Tyler Flowers made him pay with a bases-loaded single in the fourth to extend the Sox lead to 4-0.
Sale wasn’t his best either, and the Giants finally broke through in the fifth with an RBI single from Posey and sacrifice fly from Pablo Sandoval.
The flurry of runs would be a sign of things to come, as Adam Dunn took Hudson deep with two runners on in the bottom half to give the White Sox a 7-2 bulge, their biggest lead of the day. Hudson wasn’t able to make it out of the fifth.
With Sale on the hill, that lead seemed more than safe. He got through the sixth inning unscathed, but never would record an out in the top of the seventh after his pitch count reached 111.
The Giants tacked on a run with a Posey sacrifice fly to trim the lead to 7-3. Taking advantage of a shaky White Sox bullpen, San Francisco would add two more runs in the eighth on a Gregor Blanco double and RBI groundout from Hunter Pence.
Relievers Juan Gutierrez and Santiago Casilla shut down the Chicago lineup after Hudson left, keeping the Giants in the game after it seemed the White Sox had it in hand.
Ronald Bellisario finished the top of the eighth after both Zach Putnam and Scott Downs were unable to get the job done, and Bellisario found a bit of trouble himself in the ninth.
After a Pablo Sandoval double and Michael Morse single to lead off the inning, Bellisario settled down to retire three consecutive Giants. The second out was a sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin, narrowing the gap to 7-6 with two outs.
But Bellisario induced a pop fly from Ehire Adrianza to finally end it, picking up his seventh save of the season.
For Hudson, Wednesday afternoon was by far his worst start of the season, as he gave up 12 hits in less than five innings and the two costly long balls.
Hudson generally pitches to contact, but left a lot of pitches up in the zone today, and the White Sox made the most of it.
The Giants will try to regroup with a day off before heading to Arizona for a series with the Diamondbacks starting Friday at 6:40 p.m. PDT.
Despite Hudson’s off day, San Francisco’s rotation remains strong, and the hopeful return of Angel Pagan will provide a big boost to a thin outfield.