By Steven S. Garcia
CHICAGO, IL– The White Sox (45-53), after dropping the first seven games to begin the second half of the season, are trying to turn things around and have won three of their last five ballgames and were trying to take the third and rubber game against the Miami Marlins (37-62) Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Miami took Tuesday’s ballgame 5-1 against the Southsiders as Dylan Covey continues to struggle and surrendered all five Marlins’ runs and suffered the loss to drop his record to 1-6 in this 2019 campaign.
The Sox sent Reynaldo Lopez (5-8 5.76) to the bump to face 23-year old rookie right-hander Zac Gallen (0-2 3.63).
Lopez has been brilliant so far in the second-half posting quality starts in his last two outings and is coming off a win against the Rays in Tampa last Friday. Lopez pitched seven innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, striking out 8 and walking only one.
The Southsiders presented a scoring threat in their half 3rd. However, with the sacks packed with Sox and two outs, Yoan Moncada flew out to center to end the inning.
It was an old fashioned pitcher’s duel on the Southside as Lopez was dialed in through the first five innings only allowing one hit and one walk and striking out 8. At one point, the right-hander punched out five of six Miami hitters in the 4th and 5th innings. Rookie Zac Gallen was pitching exceptionally well himself by not allowing a run and giving up only one hit and struck out 6 and walking one. He did however hit Adam Engel and Jose Abreu in the 3rd inning.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the 8th. After Lopez hit Harold Ramirez on the first pitch of the inning, Cesar Puello hit a one-out two-run shot into the leftfield seats to put the Fish ahead 2-0.
Marlins’ starter Zac Gallen was lifted after the 7th for reliever Nick Anderson. The youngster pitched seven innings of shutout ball allowing 2 hits, striking out 9 and walking one.
The Sox came within a few feet of tying it in the bottom of the 8th. With two outs and Jon Jay at the plate, Jay ripped a single to left to bring Jose Abreu to the plate representing the potential game-tying run. Abreu took a 0-1 offering deep to left that was caught at the wall by Cesar Puello to end the inning for the Southsiders.
Lopez, despite giving up the two-run home run, pitched a great ballgame and was finished after the 8th and was replaced by lefty Aaron Bummer. Lopez finished with 2 runs on 4 hits, punching-out 10 and walking one in eight innings pitched.
The Sox had one last chance in the bottom of the 9th against Marlins’ closer Sergio Romo. Yoan Moncada leadoff with a single to right field off the glove of a sliding Harold Ramirez. With one out, James McCann laced a single to left to put runners on 1st and 2nd and represent the tying run. Following an AJ Reed fly out to left for the second out, Yolmer Sanchez grounded-out to second for the game’s final out and giving Miami the 2-0 win and series win.
Zac Gallen earns his first career big-league win while Lopez suffered the loss. Sergio Romo collects his 17th save of the season.
The Sox welcome the Minnesota Twins to town for a four-game series beginning Thursday night at 7:10 PM. Lucas Giolito (11-4 3.12) gets the ball for Chicago against Jose Berrios (8-5 2.96).
Lopez, who threw 76 of his 97 pitches for strikes, said through his interpreter, “The difference has been just to keep the focus pitch by pitch. Try to execute every pitch. Have the confidence and the right mindset in every pitch. And just go pitch by pitch.”
“He threw the ball great. Obviously one pitch. Certainly, gave us a chance. He looked really, really good. We were in there talking about this start. He actually had one point where he was, I don’t know, 5-to-1, 6-to-1 ball-to-strike ratio. Everything was working, fastball, from the get-go. Attacking. I don’t know if it was a breaking ball he left up. It was an off-speed pitch he left up for Puello. But he did a great job,” said skipper Rick Renteria.
IN WHITE SOX NEWS:
- Shortstop Tim Anderson began a rehab stint in Triple-A Charlotte Wednesday after missing the last month with a sprained right ankle. As far as a target date for Anderson’s return, manager Rick Renteria said, “It’s going to be determined on how he’s feeling and how things are going along. But right now everything’s positive to this point.” Prior to going on the IL, Anderson was hitting .317 with 11 HR and 37 RBI along with a .342/.491/.832.
- Rookie outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who bruised his ulnar nerve on July 17 in Kansas City when he had a bizarre outfield collision with Charlie Tilson, was playing catch and took swings off a tee for the time on Wednesday since the injury occurred. Reports indicate that he feels no pain in his elbow, yet there is no timetable set for his return to the Sox’ lineup. Jimenez is hitting .244 this season with 17 HR and 39 RBI to go with a .307/.483/.791 in 2019.