CHICAGO (AP) — Chris Sale returned from his jersey-trashing suspension and threw six effective innings, but John Lackey outpitched him and Aroldis Chapman got the final four outs to save the Cubs’ 3-1 victory over the White Sox in Chicago’s rivalry series Thursday night.
Sale (14-4) was greeted with smiles and hugs from his teammates following 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.
Kris Bryant, who homered against Sale in the All-Star Game, hit an RBI double off the center field wall in the first inning.
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 five days 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.
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?”
Sale, pitching for the first time since July 18, didn’t seem fazed 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.
Chapman struck out Todd Frazier and got two groundouts in the ninth.
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,” manager Joe 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,” manager Joe 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).