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Sale strong, Chicago bats hot in loss to Tribe

Sale strong, Chicago bats hot in loss to Tribe

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A handful of long home runs by the Indians and the White Sox overshadowed a battle of rotation leaders on Friday afternoon.

Cleveland sinkerballer Justin Masterson and Chicago lefty Chris Sale -- the probable Opening Day starter for each club -- squared off at the onset of a 9-7 Cactus League victory for the Indians. It was the offense that stole the show with five combined home runs.

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White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo got things started in the second inning, when he crushed a hanging sinker from Masterson deep to left field. The baseball sailed beyond the wall and kept going -- over lawn seats, a walkway and the stadium's outer fence -- for a monstrous solo home run.

"He swings hard," Masterson said. "I just got underneath quite a few sinkers. That was about it. The four-seamer was good, and I threw a couple good changeups. Every single hit was a sinker. A couple of them were actually kind of rise balls."

Of Viciedo, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said: "Yeah, he's a big, strong kid, but I think there's more there than just being a power hitter. I think he's got good hands and he has a good idea at the plate. It's just being able to lay off when somebody is not going to give him something to hit."

Masterson was charged with four runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings, during which he struck out two and walked none. Two batters after Viciedo's blast, Chicago third baseman Brent Morel added a two-run shot to left-center field that pushed the Indians into a 3-0 hole.

White Sox catcher Hector Gimenez added an RBI single off Masterson in the third.

Sale, who finished sixth in balloting for the American League Cy Young Award last season, turned in 2 1/3 shutout innings for the White Sox. The left-hander scattered two hits and ended with three strikeouts and one walk.

The Indians broke through with four runs in the fourth inning against Minor League right-hander Erik Johnson. Cleveland churned out four consecutive two-out hits, capped off by a three-run home run by outfielder Matt Carson.

Chicago shortstop Marcus Semien added a three-run home run in the sixth inning against Tribe lefty David Huff, who is competing for a spot in either the rotation or bullpen. Semien's shot was equaled in the home half of the sixth, when Indians first baseman Mike McDade launched a three-run homer of his own off Leyson Septimo, giving the Indians an 8-7 advantage.

Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir -- a non-roster invitee vying for a spot at the back end of the rotation -- held the White Sox in check over two shutout innings. Kazmir allowed a leadoff single to Jordan Danks in the fourth inning before retiring the next six hitters he faced in order. The lefty struck out three batters in a row between the fourth and fifth innings.

Up next for White Sox: Jose Quintana was not only one of the surprise success stories from last year, but the rookie starter emerged as one of the White Sox unsung heroes in taking the rotation spot of the injured John Danks. Quintana makes his first Cactus League start in preparation for his second year at home against the Reds on Saturday. Danks also is scheduled to throw his final bullpen in tuning up for his 2013 Cactus League debut on Monday at 2:05 p.m. CT.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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