Jul 29, 2016 12:58 AM
Sale loses in White Sox return, Chapman saves Cubs' 3-1 win.
The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — John Lackey and Aroldis Chapman outperformed Chris Sale in his return from a jersey-trashing suspension.
The Cubs did just enough against the White Sox ace in his six innings and rode their own pitching to a 3-1 victory Thursday night in Chicago's rivalry series.
Chapman earned his first save for the Cubs since being acquired from the Yankees, leaving the crowd buzzing by consistently throwing 102 mph.
"It was fun to be in the dugout and check that out," Lackey said of Chapman's sizzling fastballs. "It's definitely something you want to tune in to see for sure."
Sale faced dozens of reporters after the game, heaping praise on his teammates, sidestepping questions about the jersey-tearing and expressing gratitude to be back.
"It felt like I was out on an island, really," Sale said of his suspension.
Sale (14-4) served a five-day ban for tearing up 1976-style uniforms he didn't want to wear before his previous scheduled start. He had command issues, but worked out of trouble while allowing two runs and six hits.
Lackey (8-7) allowed one run in six innings for his first win since June 8. Chapman, in his second appearance since being acquired from the Yankees, struck out two and consistently hit 102 mph in his first save for his new team.
"It makes me feel proud when I go out there and the fans are cheering," Chapman said through catcher Miguel Montero, who served as his translator.
Kris Bryant, who homered against Sale in the All-Star Game, hit an RBI double off the center field wall in the first inning off Sale.
Ben Zobrist added an RBI single in the third and doubled and scored in the eighth as the Cubs earned a split of the four-game series and spoiled Sale's night.
The lefty was scratched from his start Saturday, sent home and then suspended for cutting up a number of collared throwback jerseys the team was supposed to wear for the game. Sale said they were uncomfortable and became enraged when the team wouldn't switch them out, feeling the team was putting marketing over winning.
"We're here to win games and from this point forward I think that's our main focus," Sale said." I hope it is, too."
The incident provided plenty of fodder for heckling Cubs fans at Wrigley Field. The Cubs tweeted out their lineup before the game with the line "Throwback Thursday, anyone?"
Several teammates hugged a smiling Sale when he arrived in the clubhouse before the game.
"I knew who they were before this, but I found out who they really are and what they're about," he said.
Sale, pitching for the first time since July 18, didn't seem fazed by the controversy in his 111-pitch outing. He also improved to 2 for 16 at the plate when his slow grounder up the middle hit second base and bounded away for a single.
The White Sox scored in the first when Melky Cabrera doubled and Tim Anderson ran through third base coach Joe McEwing's stop sign, stopped, then continued home and beat an offline throw.
Tyler Saladino doubled off former closer Hector Rondon in the eighth. But Chapman came in with two outs and struck out Cabrera on a 102 mph fastball.
"Big moment there," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Chapman struck out Todd Frazier and got two groundouts in the ninth as the crowd buzzed as the radar gun reading flashed on the scoreboard.
After a rough introductory news conference when he struggled to answer questions about a previous domestic violence case, Chapman said he was "ecstatic about the environment."
White Sox: Manager Robin Ventura said he hopes LHP Carlos Rodon (wrist) will be able to start Sunday at Minnesota.
Cubs: With OF Jorge Soler (hamstring) close to returning, the team will have a difficult roster decision. "Going back and forth on a lot of different thoughts and ideas," Maddon said.
Jason Heyward, who signed a $184 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason, didn't start as Maddon went with a righty-heavy lineup vs. Sale. Heyward, hampered by a sore wrist, is hitting .229 with four homers and has a .315 slugging percentage.
"Man, I don't know that anybody could handle it better than the way he has," Maddon said of his struggles. "I really believe we're due for a nice run out of him shortly."
White Sox: DH Justin Morneau, who won the AL MVP with the Twins in 2006, returns to Minnesota on Friday. LHP Jose Quintana (8-8, 2.97 ERA) faces Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.40).
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (10-4, 3.09 ERA) starts Friday at Wrigley Field to begin a three-game interleague series with Seattle and RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 3.96).