The visiting Mets send Wheeler to the mound opposite the Chicago White Sox's Chris Sale , who tries to snap a career-worst four-start losing streak Tuesday night.
Considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Wheeler (1-0, 0.00 ERA) lived up to the hype in the back end of last Tuesday's doubleheader at Atlanta. After watching Matt Harvey strike out 13 while winning the first game, Wheeler scattered four hits and fanned seven over six scoreless innings in a 6-1 victory.
"I hope people saw this," manager Terry Collins said of Harvey and Wheeler. "Certainly they're going to enjoy watching these two guys for a long time. They're going to be around. ... You got two guys that can win some baseball games for you."
It wasn't all smooth sailing for the 23-year-old Wheeler, who issued five walks. The right-hander threw just 55 of his 102 pitches for strikes.
"I had some jitters going at first," he said. "I settled down a little bit, probably the fourth or fifth inning I think it was, found a rhythm, settled down, and I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes."
Another solid outing from Wheeler could put even more pressure on Sale (5-6, 2.69), whose run support average of 2.69 is the lowest in the majors. Chicago (31-42), last in the AL with 272 runs, backed Sale with a combined five in his last four starts and he lost them all. The left-hander had never previously lost more than two straight decisions.
"It's tough, even for (Sale)," manager Robin Ventura told MLB's official website. "You feel like you have to throw up a one or two to be able to survive in that. That's not good for any pitcher to go out there and think that they have to do that."
Sale had his own problems Wednesday, though, allowing four runs and eight hits in five innings in a 7-4 defeat at Minnesota.
"I didn't have good command," said Sale, who had a 1.18 ERA in his previous five starts. "I was coming out of myself. I just kind of need to gather myself and get the flow again and regroup next time out."
Sale is making his first appearance against the Mets (30-42), who enter this two-game set having won six of nine. They were off Monday after an 8-0 victory at Philadelphia on Sunday, when Harvey threw six strong innings and David Wright went 4 for 5 with a homer, a triple and two doubles.
Wright is batting .405 with 14 extra-base hits in his last 17 games, including 9 for 19 with three homers and five RBIs over the past four.
"This guy is tired, beat up, yet he rides it when you need him," Collins said. "I've been around stars, and this guy's as good as any of them."
While Wright is a career .322 hitter in interleague play, he went 0 for 5 with three walks as the Mets split a two-game home series with Chicago from May 7-8.
The White Sox return home following a 3-7 road trip. Chicago appeared headed for a three-game sweep of Kansas City before Jesse Crain allowed three unearned runs in the eighth inning of Sunday's 7-6 loss.
"It's a tough way to lose a game," said Crain, who had made a franchise-record 29 consecutive scoreless appearances. "We had a chance to sweep the series, which we needed. We just have to look forward to the next game."
|New York Mets|
|June 22, 2013||Lucas Duda||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|June 21, 2013||Jonathon Niese||15-Day DL||Partially torn left rotator cuff|
|June 20, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder discomfort|
|June 19, 2013||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right groin strain|
|June 18, 2013||Scott Atchison||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore groin|
|June 17, 2013||Justin Turner||15-Day DL||Intercostal strain|
|Chicago White Sox|
|June 15, 2013||Alejandro De Aza||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 05, 2013||Jake Peavy||15-Day DL||Fractured rib - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 04, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Left game - Rib pain|
|May 30, 2013||Dewayne Wise||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 22, 2013||Chris Sale||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|May 02, 2013||Dewayne Wise||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
CHICAGO (AP) -- After the Chicago White Sox committed a costly error in the top of the ninth that tied the game, Chris Sale wound up with a no-decision despite striking out 13 batters in eight innings.
He wasn't the least bit upset about it.
Alexei Ramirez singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth and the White Sox beat the New York Mets 5-4 on Tuesday night.
"I don't think I've ever been disappointed after a win," Sale said. "Stuff happens. It's definitely not the first time that's happened and it's probably not the last either. My record is irrelevant."
The Mets scored the tying run with two outs in the ninth on the defensive miscue. Pinch hitter Daniel Murphy hit a popup in front of the mound and third baseman Conor Gillaspie called for the ball before second baseman Gordon Beckham tried to make the catch as they nearly collided. The ball fell for an error by Beckham and David Wright scored after he had singled and stole second.
"Stupid play for me," Beckham said. "My heart was in the right spot, but my mind obviously wasn't. It was loud. I screwed up. It is what it is. I'm glad we won. It didn't cost us the game, but it's a stupid play and I'm an idiot."
Manager Robin Ventura said the first player who reaches the ball in no man's land should make the play. He said the White Sox, who ranked 13th in the AL with a .980 fielding percentage, might be trying too hard.
"You're at a loss to describe it," Ventura said. "At least they gathered together and scored a run in the next inning. But it's just a communication thing, and you got to clean it up."
Ramirez's winning hit came with runners on the corners. Jeff Keppinger singled and Beckham reached on a fielding error by reliever LaTroy Hawkins (2-1). Keppinger moved to third on a groundball by Tyler Flowers .
Addison Reed (3-0) got the victory after blowing his third save.
"The thing I'm most disappointed in is Sale didn't get the win," Reed said. "He pitched his butt off and gets nothing to show for it, but we got out of it with the win."
Sale allowed three runs, four hits and two walks. He fell one short of his season high for strikeouts and two shy of his career high, set on May 28, 2012, against Tampa.
Sale struck out the side in the fourth and sixth innings and fanned nine through the first four frames. He retired 10 straight batters after allowing an RBI single to Josh Satin in the first inning.
"My arm was loose," Sale said. "After the first couple of innings, I just felt like I had good control and good command of all my pitches."
The White Sox came in averaging 2.69 runs when Sale started this season - the lowest run support average in the majors. Sale remained 0-4 in June.
"He pitched great, everything that you'd want him to do," Ventura said.
Flowers homered to tie the game in the third and scored the go-ahead run on Ramirez's sacrifice fly in the fifth.
In his second major league start, New York's Zack Wheeler allowed four runs, struck out one and walked three in 5 1-3 innings. A first-round draft pick by the Giants in 2009, Wheeler threw six shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves to win his debut June 18.
"Fastball has got life to it," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "His curveball today was so much better than his last start. Now if he finds his slider to go with it he's got three pitches. You'll get a lot of outs."
The Mets scored two runs in the first inning. Eric Young Jr. led off with a double, stole third and scored on a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly. Wright drew a walk, stole second and scored on a Satin single.
The White Sox pulled within one in the bottom of the first. Alejandro De Aza led off with a single and eventually scored on a groundout.
Flowers tied the game 2-2 with a solo homer in the third. It was his seventh homer and the first major league homer Wheeler has allowed.
Andrew Brown hit a go-ahead, leadoff homer on the first pitch from Sale in the fifth inning. Sale retired 10 straight batters and struck out four straight before the homer.
The White Sox scored two runs to take a 4-3 lead in the fifth. Beckham singled and later scored on a groundout. Flowers was hit by Wheeler and went on to score on a sac fly.
NOTES: White Sox 1B Paul Konerko was out of the lineup because of a sore back. Ventura said the injury recently popped up. ... The Mets optioned RHP Greg Burke to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Wheeler on the roster. ... Ramirez had committed five errors in his last 11 games entering Tuesday. His 12 errors lead the AL. ... The Mets traded OF Collin Cowgill to the Angels for minor leaguer Kyle Johnson. Cowgill batted .180 in 23 games for New York. ... White Sox RHP Jake Peavy said he hopes to start playing catch this week and throw bullpen sessions next week. He went on the disabled list June 6 for a left rib fracture. ... The game was briefly delayed in the top of the first inning when a power surge knocked out some lights as storms approached.