Lopez’s quality start, White Sox’ 17-hit barrage bury Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s plenty to like about White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez. Let bullpen coach Curt Hasler list a few:
‘‘Stuff out of his hand. The makings of four good pitches. Fastball command, with life. The changeup is a special pitch, no doubt about it. And the curveball continues to get better.’’
In his five starts with the Sox since his call-up from Class AAA Charlotte on Aug. 11, most everyone associated with the team has liked what they’ve seen of Lopez, 23, one of three righties acquired from the Nationals in the trade for outfielder Adam Eaton. His only non-quality start was a 4„-inning outing at Texas when he pitched with a sore back.
‘‘He has the makings of four pitches, and he’s an aggressive pitcher,’’ Hasler said. ‘‘He gets after it. He attacks the zone. Those are all the things we’re looking for as an organization.’’
In the Sox’ 11-3 victory Monday against the Royals, which opened a 10-game road trip, Lopez did not walk a batter. And while he struck out only one, he had just one bad inning — a three-run fifth that he followed with a perfect sixth. He earned his first victory with the Sox.
‘‘That’s something that’s very important for me,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘I feel very proud.’’
Lopez has a good arm that can carry the day for him, but he appears to possess some pitching acumen that should serve his development well, too.
‘‘A lot of the stuff [pitching coach Don Cooper] has talked to him about, he grasps, he understands right away,’’ Hasler said. ‘‘He makes good comments back to us when we’re watching video or doing sidelines. And it’s like, ‘Wow, he gets that. He’s a smart kid.’ Yeah, he has an idea.’’
All three runs and four of the eight hits against him came in that rough fifth, including Brandon Moss’ 20th home run. Lopez was pulled in favor of right-hander Gregory Infante after Raul Mondesi led off the seventh with a single.
For coaches such as Cooper and Hasler, getting to work with young pitchers in August and September is ‘‘renewing,’’ Hasler said.
‘‘It’s awesome,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a good time. It’s a good time to be here.’’
On the subject of good times, the Sox banged out 17 hits and scored eight runs or more for a third consecutive game for the first time since 2015.
The offense was powered by Jose Abreu’s sixth four-hit game of the season, rookie Yoan Moncada’s first three-hit game and two RBI by Abreu, Moncada and Avisail Garcia, as well as a three-run homer by Adam Engel, who also had two infield hits and was hit by a pitch.
Abreu, coming off hitting for the cycle and a two-homer effort in his previous two games, singled twice, tripled and doubled in his first five at-bats, driving in two runs to hike his RBI total to 92.
His career-high 75 extra-base hits are the most by a Sox hitter since Jermaine Dye had 77 in 2008.
With his teammates rooting for him to homer against Trevor Cahill in the ninth to get his second cycle in three games, Abreu walked.
‘‘Everybody around me was telling me, ‘Go for the homer, go for the homer,’ ’’ Abreu said. ‘‘I was trying to [find] a pitch to see if I could get it, but I couldn’t. The most important thing is we got the win today.’’
‘‘Two cycles is something you don’t see very often,’’ Moncada said. ‘‘He’s the stallion on this team, and you’re always rooting for him to do good things. He couldn’t get it done, but it’s good.’’
The Sox knocked out Jason Hammel in the fourth inning and would score six runs in the sixth to build the 11-3 lead.
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