I don't think anyone would rank the Cleveland Indians among the most feared offensive teams in the American League this year. Nevertheless, the White Sox have to be pleased with what they saw from pitcher Chris Sale Monday night.
Sale won his first career Major League start, allowing just one run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings in the Sox 4-2 victory over the Indians.
The left-hander gave up only one hit over his first five innings before Cleveland nicked him for a two-out run in the sixth. Sale also gave up a leadoff single in the seventh, but he followed that by inducing a double-play grounder on his 100th and final pitch of the night. He struck out five, walked two and retired 12 consecutive batters at one stage.
Through the first four games, that's the best outing by a Sox starting pitcher so far.
The other positive for the Sox has been their bullpen. As a group, they've allowed only one run in 9 2/3 innings through four games. Rookie left-hander Hector Santiago has converted each of his first two save opportunites, although he allowed a solo home run to Cleveland's Jose Lopez in the ninth inning Monday. Santiago recovered, however, to retire the next three hitters -- two of them on strikeouts.
Brewers 7, Cubs 5
Former Cub Aramis Ramirez made his return to Wrigley Field Monday night as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The erstwhile third baseman went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly in the Milwaukee win. He also showed off his miserable defensive skills as he made a brutal error on a Marlon Byrd grounder in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Cubs an opportunity to rally.
Chicago scored two runs to cut a 7-3 deficit in half and had the bases loaded with two outs for shortstop Starlin Castro. Milwaukee closer John Axford caught Castro looking at an 0-2 fastball right down the middle to end the game.
I don't know what Castro was thinking up there. Axford possesses a 97-mph fastball. That's the pitch you have to protect against with two strikes against that particular pitcher. Castro couldn't have possibly been looking breaking ball, could he?