GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Even though he was effective, Chris Sale wasn’t comfortable.
In his first spring training appearance of the year, the 17-game winner struck out three over 2 1-3 scoreless innings Friday as the Chicago White Sox lost to the Cleveland Indians 9-7.
Sale gave up a one-out single to Lou Marson and a walk to Mark Reynolds before getting Carlos Santana to hit into a forceout and retiring Mike Aviles on a flyout to deep center.
Catcher Hector Gimenez went to the mound for a chat.
“The first inning was kind of sporadic,” Sale said. “I felt like I was going a million miles an hour. Hector came out and said slow it down. He kind of got me back to where I was. Thanks to him, we pulled it out. I was kind of jittery in the first.”
Sale wound up allowing two hits — both singles — struck out one and walked none.
“I’m very satisfied how it went,” he said. “Obviously, there is room for improvement on anything you do. This is a good building point, Day 1 out on the mound. Build from this and learn from it.”
Chicago took a 4-0 lead against Justin Masterson, Cleveland’s opening-day starter, who gave up six hits in 2 2-3 innings. Dayan Viciedo homered leading off the second and, two batters later, Brent Morel hit a two-run drive.
Gimenez added an RBI single in the third. A 3-for-3 day increased his exhibition average to .714 (5 for 7).
“The sinker is the one they hit,” Masterson said. “They were all elevated sinkers. I threw some good ones. When I got on top, you could see them, they were diving nicely. “When they were good, you could see the guys swing over the top. It’s nice to see those mixed in, the good ones. We’re close. We’ve still got a month.”
Left-hander Scott Kazmir, who pitched in the independent Atlantic League last year, struck out three and allowed one hit while pitching shutout ball in the fourth and fifth innings. The two-time All-Star, with the Indians on a minor league contract, has not pitched in the major leagues since April 2011.
“He’s interesting,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “There’s not a lot of effort, and the ball is coming out really nice. That’s a good combination.”
Cleveland rallied on a pair of three-run homers. Matt Carson connected off Erik Johnson in the fourth for his third home run of the exhibition season, and Mike McDade went deep against loser Leyson Septimo in the sixth.
“Matt has 60 at-bats last year with Minnesota and he’s a strong kid,” Francona said. “He can play all three outfield positions, probably on the corners more than center.”
David Huff won despite giving up Marcus Semien’s three-run homer in the sixth.
NOTES: Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez could be sidelined one month because of a strained shoulder. … Cleveland also said RHP Frank Hermann sprained a ligament in his pitching elbow on Monday against Oakland.
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