Durham On a Major League rehab assignment from Chicago, White Sox ace Chris Sale needed just 68 pitches on Friday to dazzle in Durham. Adam Eaton – his White Sox teammate who was also on a rehab assignment – needed just one swing of the bat to lead the Knights.
Sale struck out 11 batters over four scoreless innings, Eaton hit a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie, and the Charlotte Knights beat the Durham Bulls 2-1 on Friday in Game 1 of a doubleheader from Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Eaton finished the game 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI.
Still, the story was Sale, who allowed just one hit over four masterful innings for the Knights in his first Major League rehab start of the season. The White Sox hurler, who is 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in four starts for the White Sox this season, had 43 of his 68 pitches go for strikes.
Sale, 25, is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm. He was placed on the disabled list back on April 22 (retroactive to April 18). In 143 career Major League games, the Florida native owns a 35-25 record with a 2.93 ERA (63 games started).
Charlotte third baseman Matt Davidson launched his fourth home run of the season – a solo shot in the top of the second – which gave the Knights an early 1-0 lead. The game stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth inning when Charlotte reliever Deunte Heath ran into a bit of trouble.
Heath loaded the bases with just one out in the sixth inning before being replaced by Donnie Veal. Although Veal fanned the first batter he faced (Robby Price), Hak Ju Lee reached base on a fielding error by Davidson, which allowed the tying run to cross the plate for Durham. It was former Knight Wilson Betemit who scored the tying run.
In the seventh, Tyler Saladino doubled and advanced to third base on an error by Durham center fielder Mikie Mahtook. With the go-ahead run on third, Jared Mitchell followed with a walk. With two on and just one out, Eaton played the hero.
On the first pitch he saw from reliever Doug Mathis (2-3, 4.50), Eaton ripped a single up the middle and Saladino came around to score what proved to be the game winning run.
Veal (1-2, 4.00) pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh inning to hold on for the win, which snapped Charlotte's five-game losing streak.
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