KANSAS CITY — Even Gio González would admit he stumbled a bit into his first two wins this season.
But no one could argue that González’s masterful 5-1 win over Kansas City on Wednesday wasn’t a straight-up boss start, the best of any White Sox pitcher this season.
González struck out the side in the first inning and basically never looked back, whiffing 10 Royals on the day and coming within a Nick Madrigal error in the ninth inning of a shutout win.
The veteran lefthander went 8 ⅔ innings and gave up just three hits and three walks en route to an 83 game score.
Madrigal’s error on a Salvador Perez grounder with runners on first and second forced manager Ricky Renteria to pull González.
“I wanted him to get that shutout,” Renteria said. “Tough mistake from Madrigal there, but it’s a win, and we’ll take it.”
Renteria so wanted González to get the shutout, he left the southpaw in for 127 pitches.
“When I went out to the mound [after Jorge Soler’s two-out single in the ninth] I was ready to take the ball,” Renteria said. “But Gio wanted it.”
“I told him ‘Hey skip, let me have this, I’m tired but give me one more [batter],” a weary González smiled postgame. “I worked hard to get there, and we had a nice lead. Still, it was huge that Ricky let me put the game on my shoulders.”
After the Madrigal error, Renteria was forced to turn to Alex Colomé, who continues to vulture saves and have a truly strange season. Colomé balked in Kansas City’s first run before throwing a single pitch, then pounded Adalberto Mondesi with strikes to induce a fly out to left and a White Sox win. Colomé’s two innings pitched to earn two saves this season isn’t weird ... it’s that he’s taken four games to get them, still with an spotless ERA.
The big inning for the White Sox offense was the sixth, which ended up providing more than necessary for the win behind González. Jaycob Brugman and Leury García whiffed, but between them Madrigal doubled. With two outs, Eloy Jiménez singled Madrigal in, and after José Abreu reached on a Mondesi error, Yoán Moncada doubled both home. (Moncada came within a scorer’s call of having two triples rather than two doubles on Wednesday, as his hustle got him to third base on both hits.)
The win put the White Sox back in first place in the AL Central, at 11-7. They head home to host Texas on Thursday for a four-game set against the only team in the AL with a better record (the Rangers sit at 12-6).
NOTES: Gio González was named MLB’s Second Star of the day with his near-complete game ... he shrank his ERA from 4.72 to 2.86 with the win ... González will meet the Royals again, and likely today’s opponent, Mike Montgomery, next Monday back at Sox Park.
Around the majors
- Ronald Guzman was the First Star of the day, leading the Rangers to a 13-3 win over the Yankees by going 3-for-3 with two homers, three RBIs, three runs and two walks.
- Two-way sensation Brendan McKay was the Third Star, throwing six innings of scoreless, one-hit ball (two walks, nine Ks) in a 5-1 win over Houston.
- Matt Olson hit an 0-1 pitch from Boston reliever Heath Hembree out of the park to lead off the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 A’s win.
- Detroit not only knocked Cleveland out of first place with a 9-2 win, but improved to 9-8 on the season. Victor Reyes had two homers in the win.
- After Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to tie the game, 6-6, Craig Kimbrel served up a two-out solo shot to Dwight Smith Jr. to lead the O’s to a thrilling win over the Cubs. Kimbrel’s ERA is 10.12.