CHICAGO (AP) -- Chris Sale's pitches were giving the New York Yankees fits from the outset. Even his catcher was surprised by the way the ball was moving.
"I'll call one and he'll throw it 85 [mph)]and then next one will be 94. One cuts, one sinks, one goes straight. It's just kind of a guessing game for me out there also," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said after Sale struck out 13 in 72 3 innings Wednesday night, pitching the Chicago White Sox to a 2-1 victory and a three-game sweep.
Sale allowed three hits, one a homer by Derek Jeter, in 72 3 innings to get his 15th victory. He left to a rousing ovation after 109 pitches.
"I felt great. Obviously I wanted to stay in there but late in game like that and when [the] pitch count gets up, adrenaline will get you through it. You want to finish the job you started," he said.
The 23-year-old Sale, who was sent to the bullpen for one game this season before returning to the rotation, agreed that his performance was perhaps the best of his young career.
"If it's not, it's up there for sure," said Sale, a first-round draft pick in 2010. "That's one to build on. Just try to use it for my next outing."
Sale (15-4) outpitched New York's Phil Hughes, who went seven innings and gave up Alex Rios' go-ahead homer in the sixth. Addison Reed worked the ninth for his 23rd save in 26 chances.
"He's funky. He's got a funky motion. He's especially tough on lefties. He throws
New York's loss and Tampa Bay's victory over Kansas City reduced the Yankees' lead in the AL East to three games, their smallest since before play on June 26.
"That's what you go through. The season isn't over after 120 [games], it's not over after 140, you have to play 162," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
The win gave the White Sox their first three-game sweep of the Yankees at home since 1991, the year U.S. Cellular Field (then known as new Comiskey Park) opened.
"They just beat us. Flat out. Today, Chris Sale was pretty incredible," New York first baseman Mark Teixeira said.