It's not because the left-hander threw more than six innings Friday. It's because fellow White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy's nails were digging into Sale's leg as Philip Humber's perfect game was drawing near a historic close Saturday afternoon at Safeco Field.
And from Sale's account, Peavy was over the dugout railing by the time the final pitch left Humber's hand. Before catcher A.J. Pierzynski had a chance to throw the loose ball that was strike three to first base for the final out, Sale maintains Peavy had already reached the third-base line.
It's not certain if anyone can challenge Sale's claims, as most eyes were fixated on the slider that Pierzynski had managed to smother in the dirt. But no one can argue the excitement of Humber's teammates, who sprinted onto the field and dog-piled the righty in front of the mound after the 4-0 win. The happiness was even more evident in the visitors' clubhouse, where White Sox players kept their eyes glued to the television set whenever a replay of the final out was shown.
"It makes me want to pitch tomorrow," Sale said afterward, his body buzzing with excitement.
When Humber was finally able to break free of his teammates and make his way off the field, which he did with a tip of his cap to a standing ovation from the 22,472 fans in attendance, the first thing he did was call his wife.
"My wife's nine months pregnant, and I was just making sure she didn't give birth while I was pitching," he said. "I've got, last I looked, like 50 text messages, and I don't know how many missed calls. I'll spend the next couple days getting back to people. A lot of friends, a lot of family, a lot of people I need to thank and share this moment with, because there's been a lot of people that have helped me along the way."
Someone Humber will be sure to thank is right fielder Alex Rios, who made nice catch at the wall on a hard-hit line drive by Dustin Ackley in the fourth inning. Although he had no idea of the implications at the time, Rios admitted the nerves were getting to him by the ninth inning.
"This is the biggest thrill I've had in baseball in my career," he said. "I was a little nervous by the end of the game, but it was worth it."
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.