MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Sale proved once again why he is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball Saturday night.
The lanky Chicago left-hander struck out 12 Minnesota Twins over eight shutout innings in a 7-0 White Sox rout at Target Field.
The 12 punch-outs marked the 15th time in Sale's career that he has fanned double-digit batters -- tying him with Juan Pizarro for second on the White Sox all-time list in double-digit strikeout games. Pizarro accomplished the feat in 145 starts. Sale completed his 75th start Saturday.
"That's cool, stuff you can talk about in the offseason and for your family and friends to talk about, but for me personally, I just try to stay focused on what we have at hand," Sale said. "All that stuff is for you guys to write about and talk about. For me, I have a team that needs me to help them win. That's my job, not worrying about all that other riffraff."
For Sale, the victory was his 10th of the season, becoming the first pitcher since Mark Buehrle in 2005 to win 10 of his first 11 starts. His 1.88 ERA this season is the lowest among all qualifiers in the majors.
"He was great, seemed to have everything working, and working fast," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "I think this is the fastest I've seen him work, not a lot of shaking off. He was just throwing it. He was throwing everything."
Despite the seven runs scored by Chicago, the game lasted only two hours and 30 minutes, one of the shortest games of the season for both teams. Sale said the key was finding a comfort zone early and staying there all night.
"Once you find a groove, you want to stay in there as long as you can; just continue to throw strikes, get deeper into the game and save your bullpen the best you can."
It also helped that for the third time in the series, the White Sox were able to get early offense and stake the starter to a lead. Chicago was ahead 2-0 after three innings and 4-0 after five. With the way Sale was going, the lead felt more like 40-0.
Twins left-hander Logan Darnell, making his first major league start, was roughed up in his Target Field debut, allowing seven earned runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings.
"When you know you're facing that guy (Sale), it's hard to give up anything," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "That was one of the better nights we've seen of Sale and he has plenty of them."
Chicago took the lead in the top of the second inning, getting back-to-back hits with two outs from third baseman Conor Gillaspie and catcher Tyler Flowers to take a 1-0 lead. Gillaspie doubled to right field ahead of Flowers, who singled up the middle for his sixth RBI in the past eight games.
Singles by center fielder Adam Eaton and shortstop Alexei Ramirez with one out in the third inning put runners on the corners for first baseman Jose Abreu, who hit a fly ball deep enough to score Eaton from third. Abreu singled later in the game to extend his season-long hitting streak to 16 games, the longest active streak in the majors.
"Yet again, we're scoring early," Sale said. "We're swinging the bats great. Anytime you can get offensive help like that, it gives you the confidence to go out there and keep pitching and stay in that groove."
Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his second home run in as many days and 10th of the season, to give the White Sox a 4-0 lead.
Darnell allowed four hits in a row to start the sixth inning, including an RBI double for Flowers and a run-scoring single by left fielder Alejandro De Aza before giving way to the bullpen. A sacrifice fly by second baseman Gordon Beckham accounted for the final White Sox run.
"It's not really how you picture it," Darnell said his performance in his first big-league start. "I started off early pretty well, but later in the game, the aggressiveness I knew was going to come happened. I just didn't make good enough pitches with two strikes and they capitalized."
NOTES: White Sox manager Robin Ventura indicated pitching coach Don Cooper's bout with vertigo has not improved enough for him to meet the team in Detroit following the series in Minneapolis. ... Ventura also said RHP Nate Jones, on the disabled list with a back injury, is likely to miss the remainder of the season. ... White Sox OF Avisail Garcia, who tore his labrum April 9 and was expected to miss the remainder of the season, could begin a rehab assignment soon. Chicago expects Garcia to be available for at least the final month of the regular season. ... The Twins optioned SS Jorge Polanco to Class-AA New Britain to make room for Darnell. Polanco was 0-for-1 with a strikeout in his lone plate appearance since his latest recall on Thursday.