White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez waited out a 108-minute rain delay before making his start Tuesday night, then had to wait until Yolmer Sanchez singled with the bases loaded with two outs in the sixth before he had his first lead against the Twins.
When Lopez (3-5, 3.73 ERA) left in the seventh inning of an 8-4 victory with the Sox up 5-4, he was positioned for just his third win of the year despite pitching like the Sox’ best starter for most of the season. It wasn’t a spotless outing (he allowed solo home runs to Brian Dozier and Ehire Adrianza), but it was serviceable, especially with one walk allowed against four strikeouts.
“I learned a lot from this one,” Lopez said. “I fought, fought and fought. We battled.”
Avisail Garcia homered for the first time since coming off the disabled list last week, giving the Sox bullpen a two-run lead to protect, and Sanchez added his fourth RBI with a single in the eighth.
Second baseman Yoan Moncada, who survived a scary collision with Garcia on a foul ball, tripled in a run and scored on Sanchez’s ground out in the third.
It was Lopez’ first outing since he called out the Sox, himself included, for looking like “clowns” when they were swept by the Indians in a three-game series last week.
“I hope they took it in a positive way,” Lopez said. “I said it because it was true. But we’ve shown what we’re capable of in the last few games. We showed good effort. That’s what we had to do.”
Lopez, in his first full season as a starter, said he is maturing as the season goes along.
“Before I would get frustrated if I had a bad inning,” he said. “Now I know I can control my emotions. That is part of the maturation process.”
Jace Fry pitched a perfect eighth and Joakim Soria worked his 12th consecutive scoreless outing in the ninth, in a non-save situation.
Abreu holds All-Star voting lead
Even as he was laboring through his first extended slump of the season, Abreu held on to a firm lead at his position in American League fan voting for the All-Star Game, with 1,032,748 votes in results released Tuesday.
Abreu is comfortably ahead of the Astros’ Yuli Gurriel (714,361), who moved ahead of the Red Sox’ Mitch Moreland (644,728) into second place in the third week of announced results.
Abreu, 31, struck out three times, was hit by a pitch and walked with the bases loaded in the eighth. This is his worst month this season (.208 average), but he was hitting .269 overall with 11 home runs, 45 RBI, 27 doubles and 37 runs scored. An All-Star as a rookie in 2014, he’s looking to become the first Sox to win a fan election since Frank Thomas did it in from 1994 to ’96.
“Right now, it’s just a matter of swinging at more pitches in the strike zone,” Abreu said.
Covey on the mend
Right-hander Dylan Covey threw a bullpen session with pitching coach Don Cooper and reported no issues related to discomfort in his right hip and groin area, which forced him to leave his start Friday against the Athletics.
Manager Rick Renteria said he doesn’t expect Covey to miss a turn, which means he remains on schedule to open the Sox’ 10-game road trip Friday against the Rangers.
“He feels he’s 100 percent,” Renteria said.
“Everything felt great,” Covey said.
Dunning news coming soon
An update is expected Wednesday on minor-league right-hander Dane Dunning, who was to have an MRI exam on his right elbow. Dunning (5-2, 2.76 ERA at Class AA Birmingham) exited his last start in the fifth inning Saturday.