Chris Sale strikes out 15 in win over Rays

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Making his first ever start in Florida, Lakeland native Chris Sale struck out 15 batters while limiting the Rays to one run and three hits in 7 1/3 innings in the White Sox’s 2-1 victory Monday.

An Adam Dunn homer, his 16th of the year, was responsible for both White Sox runs.

Sale, a first-round pick out of Florida Gulf Coast University in 2010, had family and friends in attendance for the game in St. Pete.

The 15 strikeouts matched the major league high for 2012 set by Max Scherzer against the Pirates on May 20.

The Rays kept the game close and got 10 strikeouts from their own starter, Matt Moore, in a losing cause. Today’s game was the first of the season to feature two starters with double-digit strikeouts. It happened twice last season. Arizona’s Ian Kennedy struck out 10 and Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee K’d 12 on April 25, 2011.  San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum and Florida’s Javier Vazquez both fanned 10 on Aug. 13.

Sale is 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts since the White Sox aborted his move to the bullpen and the closer’s role earlier this month. One still wonders if he’ll hold up physically, but the White Sox are certainly a whole lot better off right now with him starting and Addison Reed finishing up.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.