White Sox

After blowing four-run lead, White Sox top Oakland in 14 innings


After blowing four-run lead, White Sox top Oakland in 14 innings

The White Sox managed to win Monday night despite an ugly ninth inning that immediately is up for worst frame of 2015.

Trayce Thompson exited with a left elbow sprain and Tyler Flowers and David Robertson combined to blow a four-run lead in ugly fashion all in a span of three outs.

But Melky Cabrera helped the White Sox top the Oakland A’s 8-7 in 14 innings with a walkoff RBI single at U.S. Cellular Field. Thompson -- who is day to day after an X-ray was negative -- and Jose Abreu both homered in the victory as the White Sox improved to 13-3 in extra innings.

“The 14th is always our best inning,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Bullpen-wise, they did great. They were able to keep it going until we finally scored. But you’re more than disappointed with how the ninth went.”

Cabrera’s two-out single to right off Arnold Leon ended the contest after 5 hours, 9 minutes. Geovany Soto, the third White Sox catcher of the night, singled to start the 14th and moved into scoring position on Adam Eaton’s sac bunt. Soto just slid ahead of Josh Reddick’s throw home to scoring the winning run.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re winning by four or five or whatever, you have to keep your focus the whole game,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “That ninth inning was crazy. I don’t know how to explain it or what happened there, but it was crazy.”

[MORE: White Sox won't push Chris Sale down the stretch]

The White Sox took a comfortable four-run cushion headed to the ninth inning. But Thompson injured himself in a diving attempt for Brett Lawrie’s leadoff double, landing hard on his left elbow.

Danny Valencia reached on a wild pitch after he struck out. After Robertson struck out Billy Butler, he appeared to get out of the jam with a double play ball off the bat of Reddick only to have catcher’s interference called against Flowers. Robertson walked Coco Crisp to force in a run and Sam Fuld’s two-out, two-run single made it a 7-6 game. Robertson then crossed up Flowers, which led to a passed ball that allowed the tying run to score. But Robertson stranded the tying run at third as Marcus Semien lined out to center.

“Just a bizarre ninth inning,” Ventura said. “The ball falls in, you get the catcher’s interference, just the cross-up, just a bizarre ninth inning.”

The rally wiped out a victory for John Danks and what had been a stellar night by the White Sox offense against Oakland ace Sonny Gray, who matched a career-high with seven earned runs allowed.

[ROAD AHEAD: White Sox who can impress for 2016]

Danks limited Oakland to three hits -- all solo home runs -- in seven innings as he took advantage of a big night against Gray, who entered the game with a 2.28 earned-run average.

Abreu had gone hitless in 13 straight at-bats, including a first-inning strikeout, before blasted a two-run homer to left center in the third off Gray to put the White Sox ahead 2-1.

Three batters later, Thompson hammered a 0-1 curveball from Gray out to center to give the White Sox a three-run lead. The White Sox scored three more times in the fourth on an Alexei Ramirez bases-loaded walk and Abreu followed with a two-run single to put the White Sox ahead 7-2. Abreu reached base five times in eight plate appearances, including two intentional walks.

“I didn't see a game lasting until midnight coming, but I'm glad we got the win,” Danks said.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'


Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one


Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

Carlos Rodon's return to the South Side is coming soon.

The top-five draft pick recovering from last fall's shoulder surgery made his first rehab start Saturday with Class A Kannapolis and threw well. Rodon allowed just one run on three hits in his five innings of work, striking out six and walking none.

The White Sox announced Sunday that Rodon's second rehab start will come Thursday with Triple-A Charlotte.

As for the exact date Rodon returns to the big league roster, it's unknown at this point. General manager Rick Hahn said that Rodon will make multiple rehab starts. One might look to the pitcher's recovery from a spring injury last year as a guide. Rodon made four rehab starts in June before debuting with the White Sox on June 28.

This recovery is different, of course. Rodon is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on May 28.