CHICAGO — Reynaldo López answered any questions about his readiness for the starting rotation with a resounding performance in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Kansas City.
The star-crossed Chicago starter spun a stellar seven shutout innings, striking out eight Royals while yielding just three hits and two walks (78 game score). A beaming López rewarded manager Ricky Renteria’s faith in him — sending him out for the seventh inning despite a climbing pitch count — with a whiff of Whit Merrifield to end the frame.
“It means a lot,” López said of his manager’s confidence. “We’ve been through a lot together. I knew he had [Jace Fry] warm, but he showed faith in me to get the job done. I’m proud I did it.”
Fry entered and pitched a perfect, nine-pitch eighth, against three Royals righthanders. Renteria surprised again by sending Fry out to finish the game off. But a walk and an infield hit summoned closer Alex Colomé from the pen.
Colomé walked pinch-hitter Makiel Franco on a full count to load the bases, but then coaxed a double-play ball from Salvador Perez and a dribbler to second to earn his first save of the season.
López in fact held the Royals hitless through three innings, but faced down his only jam of the game after in infield hit, walk and José Abreu error loaded the bases in the fourth. Perez, who didn’t have his best game, popped out to second to end the threat.
The game remained scoreless until the sixth inning, when Nick Madrigal led off and drove a 402-foot home run to left-center to put the White Sox up. The rookie second baseman went 1-for-3 and is hitting .364 on the season. Fellow rookie Luis Robert again went hitless, but drove in Eloy Jiménez with a sacrifice fly in the seventh for his first career MLB RBI.
The White Sox infield defense has been pretty dreadful so far, however. The games have been cold, but five errors (two apiece from Tim Anderson and Yoán Moncada, one from Abreu) is not going to hack it.
The White Sox travel to Cleveland Monday, trotting out Gio González to make his long-awaited White Sox debut. The southpaw will face righty Adam Plutko in Cleveland’s home opener.
NOTES: At 2-1, the White Sox are tied for first place in the AL Central with Cleveland ... Chicago is also tied with Cleveland for ninth in baseball in this week’s OOTP power rankings ... Abreu received a series of hot-and-cold treatments from trainer Brian Ball to soothe his bruised knee and felt able to play the field, although Renteria indicated he may DH or sit on Monday.
- Nelson Cruz went 3-for-5 with a homer, two runs and four RBI in Minnesota’s 10-5 win at Oakland.
- Marcell Ozuna went 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs, four RBI and a walk in Atlanta’s 9-5 win at Arizona.
- After hitting eight homers in a 13-run outburst on Saturday, the Yankees failed to go yard even once, but still toppled Baltimore, 8-6.
- Tampa dropped to 0-3 with a 6-5 loss vs. Pittsburgh. Pirates closer Nick Burdi earned his second save.
- Carlos Correa had two non-trash canned homers in Houston’s 6-5 loss to the Angels.
- The Padres stretched to 4-0 with a 6-1 win vs. Colorado.
- It took 11 innings and a junk extra-innings appearance for the Cubs and Craig Kimbrel to earn a first win on the season, at Milwaukee.