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Sale goes six scoreless frames for 17th win

MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Sale's recent road woes came to an end on Friday -- for at least one night.

The left-hander entered his start against Minnesota just 1-3 with a 6.60 ERA over his previous five road starts. But he looked right at home in dominating the Twins over six innings.

Sale threw six scoreless frames and claimed his first road victory since July 27 in leading the White Sox to a 6-0 win over the Twins in front of 30,729 at Target Field.

The victory, while maintaining the club's one-game division lead over Detroit, which defeated Cleveland, 4-0, also provided at least a temporary reprieve from Chicago's road struggles, as it was the club's second win in its last 11 road games. However, the White Sox are 11-3 in their last 14 games at Target Field.

Sale was locked in as soon as he took the mound, retiring the first eight batters. He didn't allow a baserunner until Pedro Florimon's two-out single through the middle in the third. Minnesota didn't put a runner in scoring position against Sale until the fifth when Darin Mastroianni stole second base after being hit with a pitch to lead off the inning. But Sale responded by retiring the next three batters.

"I felt good out there -- I felt loose," Sale said. "I felt like, for the most part, I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes. It just went well."

Sale's win made him Chicago's first 17-game winner since Gavin Floyd notched 17 in 2008.

"He's just good," manager Robin Ventura said. "Any time he pitches, you feel confident that you're going to have a chance to win the game. Spirits are high when he's pitching just because he's so good.

Alex Rios started Chicago's scoring in the second after leading off with a double. He crossed the plate on Dayan Viciedo's groundout two batters later. Rios is hitting .421 (26-for-60) against Minnesota this season with hits in each of his last 15 games against the Twins.

Twins starter Esmerling Vasquez also issued a bases-loaded walk to Viciedo in the fourth to put the White Sox up 2-0.

Alexei Ramirez collected an RBI single in the sixth and Rios drove in a run with his second hit in the seventh. Kevin Youkilis connected on his 19th home run in the seventh and Dewayne Wise recorded a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Chicago's offensive wasn't explosive, by any means, but Ventura was pleased to see his team manufacture six runs on nine hits after totaling just 22 runs over the previous seven games.

The White Sox did leave seven runners on base, so there's still room for improvement.

"It was nice to scratch across some runs," Ventura said. "We did have situations where we could have still knocked some more in but we weren't sitting back just relying on home runs. So it was nice to get some balls in the outfield, our guys running on the bases"

Sale's solid outing was also made possible by great White Sox defense. Ramirez ranged far to his left to scoop Denard Span's grounder in the first -- the first live ball of the game -- then fired a spinning throw to first base on time. Youkilis converted a diving snag of a sharp liner from Jamey Carroll to start the fourth. Alejandro De Aza also took away a hit from Trevor Plouffe to start the seventh with a great diving catch in left field.

"I'll tell you one thing -- I don't think I'd be sitting here right now without some of those plays out there," Sale said. "Alexei -- unbelievable. Youk over there at the hot corner. Just an all-around great game, putting runs on the board. I've said it before, it takes a little bit of the pressure off you and I like pitching like that."

Chicago's dominant pitching didn't end when Sale left the game, either. Brett Myers and Matt Thornton combined to throw three shutout innings and only allowed one hit -- a Justin Morneau single off Thornton in the ninth. The duo capped the club's ninth shutout of the season.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has seen enough of Sale this season. The 23-year-old is 3-0 with an 0.90 ERA in three starts against Minnesota.

"I think the story of the night was Sale -- he had his stuff going pretty good and didn't give us much," Gardenhire said. "We didn't do much offensively but that's because of the guy on the mound. He's pretty doggone good."

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