In the aftermath of his previous start, Reynaldo Lopez didn’t mince words when describing the White Sox’s effort, telling reporters, “we looked like clowns there, starting with me.”
On a soggy Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, the clown show was no longer present—as least on the Sox’s side--as Lopez and his teammates rallied for an 8-4 victory over a sloppy Twins squad in the opener of a three-game series.
After enduring a 108-minute weather delay to start the game and often pitching through rain drops, Lopez was markedly better than during last Wednesday’s loss to the Indians that irked the righthander. Against the Twins, Lopez allowed four runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings of work and, this time, left the mound with a smile on his face.
“I felt happy because it was a good game,” Lopez said via a team interpreter. “There were a few things that happened during the game but I was able to manage (them) and I was able to execute the plan that we had for today’s game.”
The Sox played error-less ball in the field and Yolmer Sanchez came up with the big hit—a two-out, two-run single in the sixth that gave them a 5-4 lead—to help Lopez improve to 3-5 on the season.
“Always you feel good when you help the team win games,” said Sanchez, who matched his career high with four RBIs. “I feel good with runners in (scoring) position. I don’t try to do too much. I try to put the ball in play.”
Lopez yielded solo home runs to Brian Dozier and Ehire Adrianza and was burned by three consecutive singles by Mitch Garner, Jake Cave and Adrianza to start the fifth inning but at times was over-powering with a fastball that reached the high 90s and a sharp curveball.
Meanwhile, Twins starter Lance Lynn didn’t make it out of the sixth inning and yielded five runs—four earned—on eight hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.
In addition to Sanchez’s clutch hit, Lynn gave up an RBI triple to Yoan Moncada and a run-scoring groundout by Sanchez in the third. After the Sox loaded the bases in the sixth with singles by Matt Davidson, Leury Garcia and Kevan Smith, Lynn was pulled in favor of Ryan Pressly and the reliever promptly walked Tim Anderson to pull the Sox to within 4-3. Two outs later, Sanchez ripped a single to center off Taylor Rogers to put the Sox in front. In the seventh, Avisail Garcia launched his first home run since April 3 to make it 6-4.
In the eighth, Sanchez singled in a run and Jose Abreu walked with the bases loaded for the final margin.
Lopez’s bounce-back outing was indicative of the maturity the 24-year-old has shown this season, according to manager Rick Renteria.
“He continues to improve and grind out innings and give us some starts that give us a chance,” Renteria said. “He’s continued to show some calm out here. He is maturing.”
Lopez also believes he is maturing and it has helped him overcome adversity on the mound.
“I absolutely agree with Ricky,” Lopez said. “Before, I used to get frustrated from things that happened during the game or if I had a bad outing. Now, I know how to control those emotions (and) I know how to control the game. I think that’s part of the maturation process. You’re learning every day and you’re executing. You’re applying all that knowledge you’re gaining. I’m more mature now (and) I know how to handle different situations.”