SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) – Chris Sale felt much better about his final tuneup for opening day than Matt Harrison did.
Sale was sharp in his last Cactus League outing and Dayan Viciedo homered to help power the Chicago White Sox past Harrison and the Texas Rangers 11-3 on Tuesday.
Brandon Short hit his first two home runs of the spring and Angel Sanchez also connected for the White Sox. Sale struck out five and allowed a solo shot to Geovany Soto in four otherwise perfect innings.
“You want to go out there today and simulate a real game,” Sale said. “It’s time to kind of get away from the working stage and prepare for the regular season. I wanted to treat this as a regular-season game as much as I could.”
Harrison, also prepping for his first opening day start, yielded four runs — three earned — and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings. He needed 81 pitches to get 10 outs.
“This was the last game of the spring. It’s over with,” Harrison said. “Now come the preparations for the first start and getting ready for that and preparing myself mentally and physically. You strive to be the best pitcher you can be and it’s a great honor to start opening day for your club. It’s something that might only happen once.”
Harrison was followed by Derek Lowe, who was told earlier on Tuesday that he had made the team. Lowe came to Rangers camp after signing a minor league contract on March 6. The 39-year-old right-hander has a 175-157 career record in 16 seasons with six teams.
“To think where I was three weeks ago, taking my son to Little League games,” Lowe said. “I give them credit for backing up their word. They told me I could come in here and have a chance to come in here and compete and you never know how those things work out.
“It’s something I’m proud of, to be able to come in here and pitch well enough to make the team.”
Sale retired the first six batters he faced and the final six, with Soto’s long home run to straightaway center sandwiched in between. The left-hander was 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA and 192 strikeouts in 192 innings last year, finishing fourth in the AL in wins and ERA.
“It’s all about how you prepare,” Sale said. “I’ll clear my mind as much as I can, not try to have too many thoughts rattling around up there. Sometimes you can beat yourself mentally. That’s one thing I’m going to focus on the most is I feel fine. I feel ready physically.”
Adam Dunn gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI double against Harrison. Short made it 4-1 in the fourth when he followed an error and Sanchez’s single with his line-drive homer to left-center.
Viciedo keyed a five-run sixth with his third home run of the spring.
Sanchez went deep in the ninth.
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