A White Sox starter finally went eight innings, and as a result, the White Sox finally won a series.
And Reynaldo Lopez finally picked up a win to show for it.
He pitched a beauty, limiting the Rangers to just two hits and two walks over eight scoreless frames. He both attacked the zone (68 of 107 pitches for strikes) and didn’t require an abnormal amount of good fortune (15 swinging strikes, 17 called).
He rebounded from a thumping in Pittsburgh with some extra giddy-up on his stuff. Brooks Baseball said he averaged 96.8 mph on his fastball, and he carried 96 into the late innings, including his last pitch of the day.
It looked like Renteria was going to call it an afternoon for Lopez with 7⅔ innings in the books after Lopez lost a seven-pitch battle to Delino DeShields Jr. The manager came to the mound, but didn’t signal to the bullpen immediately, and, as it turns out, at all. He let Lopez try to finish the inning, perhaps because the tying run was only on deck.
He fell behind 3-1 to Shin-Soo Choo, but got a foul ball to fill the count. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat and his 107th pitch of the day, he rode a 96 mph fastball over Choo’s bat for strike three. It seemed to mean a lot to him:
Gang, I have a hunch finishing that inning was important to Reynaldo. pic.twitter.com/7zgNx4RESz
— Jim Margalus (@SoxMachine) May 20, 2018
That was the only thing resembling tension after the third inning, and that was only of the dramatic variety. The Rangers never had the tying run to the plate after the Sox extended their lead to 3-0. He retired 14 of 15 at one point, and the only batter to reach was Jurickson Profar, who made it to first on a Yolmer Sanchez error. Nomar Mazara gave the next pitch a ride to center, but Adam Engel flagged it down on the track.
Jace Fry similarly made easy work of the ninth, getting a flyout and two strikeouts against a switch-hitter and two lefties. Mazara and Joey Gallo found it just as tough to take pitches as they did swinging at them. Fry now has pitched 8⅔ innings this season and has yet to allow his first hit.
The Sox built their 3-0 lead with a combination of long ball and small ball. Welington Castillo turned up the Beef with a long blast to left off Mike Minor in the second inning for the game’s first run.
An inning later, the Sox set the basepaths ablaze. Adam Engel led off with a single, then took third on a hit-and-run with Tim Anderson. Anderson stole second easily off Minor, then got a great read on Leury Garcia’s opposite-field flare to right. When Choo threw home, I’d assumed that his main target was Engel, but Anderson was right on his six.
Maximum effort. https://t.co/VnKkRqPaw4
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 20, 2018
Minor and the Rangers bullpen kept the Sox in check after that, and they struck out 13 without issuing a walk on the day. Three runs turned out to be way more than Lopez needed.
*The White Sox are now 1-12 in series against non-KC opponents.
*Matt Davidson’s patience backfired on him today. Not only did he wear a golden sombrero, but all four K’s were backwards.
*Castillo had the two hardest-hit balls, as he followed up his homer with a drilled double off the left-field wall.
*At two hours and 28 minutes, this was the fastest game of the year.
Record: 13-30 | Box score