Chris Sale fans 13 as White Sox finish sweep of Yankees

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Chris Sale held the Yankees to one run in 7 2/3 innings and struck out 13 Wednesday as the White Sox won 2-1 to complete a three-game sweep in Chicago.

The Yankees struck out a season-high 15 times in the game, and they were swept even though Derek Jeter homered in all three games of the series. They’re now 15-18 in their last 33 games, cutting their lead in the AL East to three games over the Rays.

It was the White Sox’s first three-game sweep of the Yankees at home since 1991.

Sale’s 13 strikeouts were two shy of his career high established in a game against the Rays earlier this season. He fanned every member of the Yankee lineup except Jeter. The 2010 first-round pick improved to 15-4 on the season. He has the AL’s fourth best ERA at 2.65.

As for Jeter, this marks the first time in his Hall of Fame career that he’s homered in three straight games. He has five homers in his last 10 games and 13 for the season after hitting just six in 131 games last year.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.