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Fulmer struggles in first spring start; Sox dropped by Cubs, 6-5

Only one earned run, but many hard-hit balls off the righthander

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs
Flat Start: With the exception of a killer backdoor slider to Kyle Schwarber, Fulmer pitched to hard contact in his first spring inning.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carson Fulmer finished last season pitching some pretty darn good baseball.

But the righthander could not build off any of that confidence in Tuesday’s spring training tilt against the Chicago Cubs, taking the loss in the White Sox’s 6-5 defeat.

Fulmer went one inning, giving up five hits, one walk and one earned run. Three unearned runs also crossed the plate due to Nicky Delmonico’s misplayed fly ball in left field.

The Cubs hit the ball so hard, even their outs were loud. Ian Happ led off the game with a towering home run to center field. David Bote’s RBI triple and Mike Freeman’s RBI single put the Sox in a 4-0 hole early.

Fulmer did get Kyle Schwarber to strike out on a nasty 3-2 slider, an unhittable pitch when Fulmer locates it under lefties’ hands.

The White Sox got a run back in the top of the second, thanks to a Yolmer Sanchez RBI single. Delmonico, who went 3-for-3, scored on the play.

That ended Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester’s day. He gave up one earned run, one hit and two walks in his 1 ⅔ innings pitched.

Matt Davidson continued his rash of baseball stinging, with a towering, two-run home run to left in the top of the third. He is hitting .500 on the spring in eight at-bats and, so far, is making a strong case to be the Opening Day designated hitter.

Hector Santiago kept the Cubs scoreless in his three innings of work. He struck out four and walked ... no one!

Danny Farquhar, who spent time on the Sox last year, took over for Santiago in the fifth and ran into some trouble. He went only one-third of an inning, allowing two earned runs on three hits and one walk. Xavier Cedeno replaced him to get the next two outs.

Tyler Saladino continued his hot spring, driving in two on a base hit in the top of the sixth. The infielder is batting .556 this spring, in seven at-bats. He had back issues all last year; now fully healthy, Saladino is a favorite to fill one of those last roster spots.

Jeanmar Gomez wasted little time in the bottom of the sixth, burning through the frame by throwing just seven pitches (all strikes), with two strikeouts. Gomez opened last season as the closer for the Philadelphia Phillies, but lost the job relatively quickly.

The White Sox could not string together any late-inning rallies, but Luis Robert did record his first hit in a White Sox uniform. He went after Duane Underwood Jr.’s first pitch of the eight inning and ripped it to left field.

Overall, this was a productive game for the Sox — no injuries, and contributions from many across the board.