BOSTON — An idle two days did not wither the White Sox bats, which exploded for six runs in the first inning to pace a 7-4 win in the opener of Saturday’s split doubleheader.
Luis Robert cracked his first major league home run to cap off scoring in the first. But the game was not without a second straight dark cloud for the White Sox, as Dallas Keuchel was forced to leave the game after four scoreless innings with a blister on his pitching hand.
Chicago jumped on opener Darwinzon Hernandez for three hits, two walks and five earned runs, knocking the southpaw out of the box with two outs in the first frame.
The South Siders packed the sacks on Yoán Moncada and José Abreu singles and an Edwin Encarnación walk. Yasmani Grandal fouled off two balls with a full count to coax a run-scoring walk. Nick Madrigal slapped an 0-2 single to right to put the White Sox up, 3-0, and Robert greeted new pitcher Martin Perez with a 1-2 clout to right field, a 410-foot homer that put the game out of reach early.
After the bases cleared, Leury García doubled to get the Sox batting around, with Tim Anderson making his second out of the inning to finish the frame.
Keuchel was splendid in a second straight start, going four scoreless innings, with four hits and four Ks that pushed his season ERA down to 1.74. His blister worsened throughout the game, forcing him to leave after the final pitch of the fourth inning, when Mitch Moreland popped out to first.
That marks the second straight game in which a White Sox starter has been felled by injury. Keuchel is listed as day-to-day and should not miss his next start. The team is still awaiting news on Lucas Giolito, who was injured in Wednesday’s loss at Cleveland and was sent home to Chicago for an examination.
Gio González, the No. 4 starter but pitching on regular rest due to Thursday’s rainout and Friday’s off-day, relieved Keuchel and whiffed the first two Red Sox he faced in the fifth. The southpaw logged four innings, giving up five hits and a walk for three runs, and four strikeouts. González earned his second win of the young season for his efforts.
The White Sox earned an insurance run in the seventh in Go-Go fashion, as Anderson singled with two outs, stole his fourth base of the season and took third on the throw, and then scored on a Moncada safety.
Steve Cishek ran into trouble in the ninth, getting just two outs and letting in a run on three hits before yielding to Aaron Bummer. With the sacks packed, Bummer coaxed a ground out to first from Christian Vazquez to earn his first save of the season.
Reynaldo López (1-0, 0.00 ERA) faces off against Boston righty Ryan Weber (1-0, 4.50 ERA) in the nightcap. The two clubs are scrambling to fit in every game of the series after a rainout on Thursday; Saturday’s opener was played through 37 degrees (wind chill: 30 degrees) and rain.