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Anthony Ranaudo homers, and no-hits Cubs — for five innings

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 27: Anthony Ranaudo #45 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning in his first start for the team at Wrigley Field on July 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Anthony Ranaudo was the man of the hour at Wrigley Field Wednesday. Well, for an hour and a half, anyway, which wasn’t quite enough to hold down the Cubs in their own house.

Making his first appearance for the White Sox and his 10th start in the major leagues, the 6-7 right-hander not only took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Cubs, he punched a home run against right-hander Jason Hammel into the first row of the right-field bleachers to give the Sox, shooting for their third win in as many nights against their crosstown rival, a 1-0 lead.

“It was definitely cool, something I will remember the rest of my life,” said Ranaudo, who was optioned back to AAA Charlotte Thursday. “The way the game turned out took a bad turn for us but a great experience, the atmosphere was electric. We played really well for most of the game.”

Ranaudo gave up a tying homer to Kris Bryant with one out in the sixth, which broke up his no-hitter, and a two-run blast to Javy Baez in the seventh, which broke a tie. The Sox would get clobbered 8-1 as the Cubs piled on against Carson Fulmer and former Cub Jacob Turner. Fulmer was charged with four runs, three of them scoring on Addison Russell’s grand slam on Turner’s second pitch in the eighth.

“I have high expectations for myself,” Ranaudo said, who admitted to having some butterflies when he walked two in the first before settling in.

His homer was the first by an American League pitcher this season, the first by a Sox pitcher since Mark Buehrle in 2009, the first by a Sox pitcher against the Cubs and his first since 2007.

“In high school,” Ranaudo said with a smile.

He thought it was a double when it left his bat.

“I figured it was going over [Jason] Heyward’s head,” he said. “I thought it got stuck in the ivy and I kind of pulled up at second base. The way everybody was reacting, I knew I had to finish out the job.”

The ball was recovered. A souvenir kept.

As for the brief no-hitter flirtation, Ranaudo was aware.

“I couldn’t really see it on the scoreboard at all,” he said of the Wrigley scoreboard’s small posting of team hits. “It was kind of weird seeing it — I was locked in, so …. But yeah, I kind of realized it afterwards. Once he got that hit I realized it.”

It was his first time pitching at Wrigley, which he called “an awesome experience.” He finished with three runs allowed on two hits and four walks while striking out three.

“Yeah, I mean, I’d be lying if I said there probably wasn’t [nervousness at the outset]. I have high expectations for myself. I think I was nibbling a bit in that first inning, trying to be too perfect. I think I settled in a little bit after that and was a lot more aggressive.”

Ranaudo, 26, was once a highly regarded prospect of the Boston Red Sox, who traded him to the Texas Rangers. The Sox acquired him in May for low level prospect Matt Ball after Ranaudo struggled badly in an appearance against them in Texas. He was 6-4 with 3.03 ERA ver 16 starts between AAA Charlotte and AAA Round Rock this season. The Sox used him to fill a void left by injured left-hander Carlos Rodon, who should return to the rotation in a matter of days.

“Good night for him,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He was fantastic pitching and swinging the bat for us, too. Tough way to go knowing he pitched so well but there are some dangerous bats over there and he ran into them.

“He kept everybody off guard and his location was good.”

Ranaudo’s 6 2/3 innings tied his second longest career start and the 107 pitches marked a career high. It was his fifth career quality start.

The Sox fell to 50-51 and finish their four-game crosstown series Thursday with Chris Sale pitching against John Lackey. Sale was reinstated from the suspended list Thursday, and Ranaudo was optioned to Charlotte to make room on the 25-man roster.