Mat Latos has been off to a hot start this season and it continued on Sunday as the White Sox beat the Texas Rangers, 4-1, completing a series sweep at U.S. Cellular Field.
Latos improved to 4-0 on the year, bringing his ERA to 0.74. He pitched six innings, allowing seven hits and striking out two.
"Matty threw great. He continues to impress," manager Robin Ventura said. "That’s a tough lineup to go through when they load those lefties in there. He just does a nice job of filling up the strike zone, spinning it up and down in the strike zone. Taking a little off. Getting the ground ball when he needs to and a fly ball. He continues to do that and allow the defense to work for him."
Latos had his struggles though early in the game, having a 26-pitch first inning.
In the second at-bat of the game, rookie Nomar Mazara smacked a 418-foot solo homer to right field to get the Rangers on the board first. But in the third, Dioner Navarro responded with a solo shot of his own, his first of the season, to even things up.
Latos found himself in a few more jams later in the contest as well, but was able to hold off the Rangers from adding any runs.
In the fourth, Latos forced Brett Nicholas to line out, stranding the runners on second and third.
The next inning, the Rangers had runners at the corners with one out, but Latos prevailed by getting Prince Fielder to ground out into a double play.
“I was kind of running on fumes there, the last part, and I was lucky to get a ground ball,” Latos said.
The White Sox pitcher was stuck in hole again in the sixth inning with one out and runners at the corners, but forced yet another double play on his 109th pitch to get out of the jam.
“I battled today,” Latos said. “I didn't have good fastball command. I fell behind in the count early. I was lucky. I got away with a couple pitches. The defense picked me up and so did the offense.”
The White Sox offense started heating up in the fifth and got things going.
Brett Lawrie followed up a Melky Cabrera walk with a double to right-center field to start the inning. A wild pitch scored Cabrera from third — his second run from a wild pitch this series — to put the White Sox in front 2-1.
The White Sox tacked on another run with a sac fly from Navarro that scored Lawrie. And in the eighth, Lawrie’s RBI single extended their lead to 4-1.
David Robertson capped off the game by earning his seventh save of the season.
The White Sox finished their seven-game homestand with a 5-2 record and improved to 13-6 on the year, which leads the American League.
But on Monday, they hit the road for a week and they’re feeling pretty good about it.
"I know it definitely takes us into Toronto on a high note being that Toronto does have a good lineup," Latos said. "So keep winning ballgames and it definitely helps going into tougher series. The Rangers are a tough team and we were able to get a sweep. We just need to take that momentum into Toronto and then into Baltimore as well."