Dylan Cease pitched six strong innings following a relatively rough start, Eloy Jimenez hit a tiebreaking solo home run and the Chicago White Sox beat the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Friday night.
The first start in August for Cease (12-4) resembled those of the past eight weeks, when he was selected the AL pitcher of the month for June and July. He gave up a run and two hits to lower his earned run average to 1.98, second in the AL, and won his fifth straight start.
Cease hasn't given up more than one earned run in any of his last 13 starts. It's the longest such stretch since the ERA entered baseball in 1913, breaking a tie with Jacob deGrom's 12-game run last season.
"It's definitely the best I've ever pitched," Cease said. "I'm happy to be giving us a chance, and I hope to keep it going."
Cease hasn't allowed more than one run in a game since June 9, when he was tagged for six unearned runs.
He gave up a first-inning run on back-to-back two-out walks and an opposite-field RBI single by Adolis Garcia. He had not allowed a first-inning run since July 2.
Cease didn't allow a hit after Bubba Thompson's second-inning single. He struck out five and walked three, one after the first inning. After throwing 45 pitches in the first two innings, he threw 46 over the next four and was pulled at 91.
"We saw a different side of Dylan Cease," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "What did he have 40 pitches through two innings and pitched through the sixth? The young man continues to impress, amaze, whatever."
Chicago tied the score 1-1 in the third beginning with a four-pitch leadoff walk to Yasmani Grandal, who came in on an 0-for-21 slump. Grandal advanced to third on Josh Harrison's single that glanced off the glove of second baseman Marcus Semien and scored on a sacrifice fly by Seby Zavala.
Jimenez homered in the fourth to put Chicago ahead.
Kendall Graveman left the bases loaded in the eighth, retiring Leody Taveras on a first-pitch groundout to first base to end the inning. Liam Hendriks, the third White Sox reliever, pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 25 chances and celebrated his 100th career save with an energetic fist pump.
The White Sox have won 13 of their last 20 games and are tied for second place in the Central Division with Cleveland, two games behind Minnesota.
The Rangers have lost four of their last five games and fell back to 12 games under .500 to match their season low. They are a majors-worst 6-24 in one-run games.
Glenn Otto (4-8) gave up two runs and four hits in six innings while matching a career high with seven strikeouts. Otto is 0-6 in eight starts since returning from the COVID-19 related injury list.
"For Otto, that's one of the better starts I've ever seen him have from start to finish," Texas manager Chris Woodward said. "He looked really confident out there."
Jimenez went 2 for 4 and is 18 for 39 (.462) in his last 11 games. ... Texas 1B Nathaniel Lowe saw his hitting streak snapped at 11 games, matching the longest this season by a Ranger. ... Thompson, who made his big-league debut on Thursday night, recorded his first two major league steals. ... RHP Brock Porter, Texas' fourth-round draftee this summer, was introduced to the crowd early in the game. A few innings later while seated in a suite, Porter grabbed a foul ball on the fly.
White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (back) is scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Saturday. "My understanding is he's four or five days away from being ready," La Russa said.
Rangers: INF-OF Brad Miller (neck strain) was activated from the 10-day injured list. Miller was the DH on Friday, his first action since July 17, and went 0 for 4. To make room for him on the active roster, INF-OF Nick Solak was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.
White Sox RHP Michael Kopech (4-7, 3.12 ERA) goes against Rangers RHP Dane Dunning (1-6, 4.30) on Saturday. Kopech, from the east Texas town of Mount Pleasant, matched a season high with seven innings last time out in a 2-1 loss to Kansas City. Dunning has four straight no-decisions and hasn't won since April 30.