Four HRs power White Sox past Rays
CHICAGO — Coming in following a 78-minute rain delay likely is not the way Carson Fulmer envisioned earning his first major league victory.
But after the Chicago White Sox staked starter Carlos Rodon to an early lead, the rains came and Fulmer did just enough as the White Sox snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.
Avisail Garcia, Omar Narvaez, Alen Hanson and Yolmer Sanchez all homered to spark the White Sox. Garcia’s two-run homer in the seventh inning gave Chicago some breathing room before Juan Minaya held the Rays to just one run after they loaded the bases in the ninth with nobody out.
“It’s an exciting win for us to hold on first and foremost because those guys are competing,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.
The Rays loaded the bases with three straight singles and got within a run when Danny Espinosa scored on Evan Longoria’s double-play grounder. But with one on and the go-ahead run at the plate, Minaya closed out the victory by striking out Logan Morrison for his fourth save.
Tampa Bay got to within 5-3 after Morrison homered in the sixth inning and Adeiny Hechavarria delivered an RBI single in the eighth.
“Frustrating loss,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “Seems like we had a bunch of opportunities in the seventh, eighth and ninth to get some runs in and we just weren’t able to get that one big swing.”
Fulmer (1-1) picked up the win for the White Sox after he pitched two innings in relief of Rodon, who allowed just two hits over four innings before the lengthy rain delay. Fulmer was the first of five pitchers who followed Rodon’s lead to end Chicago’s losing skid.
He said capturing his first big-league win “means a lot” but that he is willing to do whatever he is asked to do to help the White Sox win.
“(Rodon) did a great job tonight. I came in, tried to keep the game where it was,” Fulmer said.
The White Sox took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Hanson and Sanchez hit back-to-back solo home runs. After Sanchez homered, Rays starter Chris Archer (9-8) left the game as a precaution for right lateral forearm tightness.
After surrendering the two homers, Archer threw one pitch to Garcia and left after a brief conference on the mound with catcher Jesus Surcre, manager Kevin Cash and Rays athletic trainer Ron Porterfield.
“I thought after I warmed up in the game (the tightness) would just be gone, but it didn’t, and every time I tried to get to full extension I couldn’t get there,” Archer said. “It just felt like it was smarter to not risk any further injury trying to force myself through some tightness in my arm.”
Tampa Bay got within 2-1 in the third inning when Kevin Kiermaier scored on a sacrifice fly by Longoria. Kiermaier doubled with one out and then stole third. But the White Sox again extended their lead to two runs when Narvaez led off the fourth inning with Chicago’s third solo homer of the night.
By the end of the night — even with the rain delay and late drama — the White Sox did just enough to win. Although the wins haven’t come as often as he would like, Renteria likes the way his team is competing.
“They’re playing, they’ve got some good hitters over there, they’ve got some good players and you see them doing everything they can to try and attain as many victories as possible,” Renteria said. “Our guys continue to battle.”
NOTES: Rays RHP Matt Andriese will make his first start since June 10 on Sunday against the White Sox. Andriese missed more than two months with a hip injury before he pitched three innings in relief on Aug. 28 against the Kansas City Royals. ... White Sox RF Leury Garcia was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right thumb. Garcia reinjured the thumb on a swing Friday night before he underwent an MRI. ... The White Sox purchased the contract of OF Rymer Liriano and he started in left field against the Rays. ... White Sox 1B Jose Abreu missed his third straight game with a right elbow injury. Manager Rick Renteria said Abreu is still experiencing discomfort in the elbow but may be able to return for Sunday’s series finale against the Rays.