BOSTON (AP) — Tim Anderson gave Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale the earliest lead possible, and Sale used it to become the majors’ first 12-game winner.
Sale tied his season high with nine strikeouts, Anderson led off the game with his first career homer and the White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 3-1 on Tuesday night.
“I felt really good out there. I had good command and just confidence, too,” Sale said.
That confidence was evident as Sale (12-2) held Boston to four hits over seven innings. He got to a dozen wins before the season’s midpoint.
Chicago led the whole way after Anderson homered to left on the first pitch from Clay Buchholz (3-7) in the right-hander’s return to Boston’s rotation after spending about a month in the bullpen.
Buchholz recovered after the rocky start and pitched pretty well, just not nearly as well as Sale.
“He was great. I think this is one of his better ones,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said of Sale. “He navigated it very well tonight. I think he was throwing strikes, a great changeup in some tough spots and got a strikeout when he needed it, too.”
Todd Frazier hit his 20th homer and David Robertson got his 18th save for the White Sox, who won consecutive games for just the second time in June.
Boston sputtered against Sale and the relievers that followed. The Red Sox left eight runners on base and were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
“He kept everybody off balance, mixed up pitches throughout counts and did what he does a lot of times,” said Mookie Betts, who drove in Boston’s only run.
Sale also had a 2-0 lead before even throwing a pitch. Adam Eaton doubled on Buchholz’s second pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Melky Cabrera.
“Before I even stepped on the field we’re sitting there 2-0,” Sale said. “The way T.A. started that game off, it just gives you a spark, gives you a little bit more of a jolt.”
Sale’s biggest challenge came after Travis Shaw and Sandy Leon started the third inning with back-to-back singles. Shaw scored on a sacrifice fly by Betts, and the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs before Sale struck out Hanley Ramirez swinging.
“I wasn’t really focused on this or that,” Sale said. “I know that these guys are a good hitting team, especially at their house. So I was just trying to keep the ball down and not let things get too far out of hand.”
Anderson has five hits in eight games since the White Sox moved him to the top of the order on June 13. He did it again Tuesday with a shot that ended up in the seats above the Green Monster, not far from where Frazier’s homer landed in the fourth to put Chicago up 3-1.
“I kind of felt like he was going first-pitch fastball, so I was just on it and made sure I didn’t miss it,” Anderson said. “It was a great feeling to get my first one out of the way.”
Buchholz allowed only one run after Chicago’s two-run first inning. He struck out five and threw only 78 pitches in five innings. He admitted not relishing the assignment to the bullpen, but thought maybe a step back would help him stay in a rotation very much in need of quality starters.
“Overall I felt pretty good,” Buchholz said. “They’ve got a good lineup. It’s a tough lineup to pitch to, especially when you’re going up against Chris Sale.”
White Sox: They placed RHP Zach Putnam on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation of the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. … RHP Chris Beck was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.
Red Sox: DH David Ortiz was not in the starting lineup, almost getting the night off before pinch hitting in the ninth and drawing a walk. Ramirez was the DH and struck out three times.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana (5-7, 2.63) has gone 0-6 with one no decision over his last seven starts.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 6.97), who was moved back a day in the rotation for an extra bullpen session, will start his fifth game of the season.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.