Rangers knock out Michael Kopech early, rout White Sox

With two outs in the third inning, Kopech allowed two walks and two singles as the Sox fell behind 3-0. It took him 38 pitches to get through the inning, and he was pulled after allowing two hits in the fourth.

SHARE Rangers knock out Michael Kopech early, rout White Sox
Michael Kopech pitches during the first inning against the Rangers Saturday night. (AP)

Michael Kopech lasted just 3 1⁄3 innings against the Rangers Saturday night. (AP)

AP Photos

ARLINGTON, Texas — Michael Kopech’s Texas homecoming was a bust.

And the White Sox’ offense looked just plain busted.

The Sox right-hander had it all going for two innings against the Rangers, retiring the first six batters with three strikeouts, but it quickly fell apart in a deflating 8-0 loss before a sellout crowd at Globe Life Field.

Ezequiel Duran homered leading off the third inning. And then with two outs, Kopech allowed two walks and two singles, including Adolis Garcia’s two-run hit making it 3-0. It took Kopech, sweating heavily in the air-conditioned stadium during the inning, 38 pitches to get through it, and he was pulled after allowing two hits in the fourth.

Meanwhile, former Sox right-hander Dane Dunning held a listless lineup to one hit in seven innings as the 48-59 Rangers won for the second time in three games in the series. It was the longest scoreless outing of Dunning’s career.

The Sox (54-53), who fell three games behind the first-place Twins in the American League Central, have scored four runs in the series. Yasmani Grandal’s two-out double in the ninth was the Sox’ second hit.

“We were taking our swings; I don’t think we were really happy with our plate discipline,” manager Tony La Russa said. “We chased. [Hitting coach] Frank [Menechino] kept telling us to get the ball up, but we kept swinging at the ball down. And [Dunning] did the things he needed to do to get guys out.”

Dunning entered with a 1-6 record and 4.30 ERA. He struck out six and walked one.

Kopech (3.38 ERA) allowed four runs and five hits, walked two and struck out four in 3„ innings. It was his second-shortest start of the season.

“I’d like to think it was just another day, but there are a lot of family and friends, and I grew up watching a lot of Rangers games,” Kopech said. “Coming back home and not doing my best stings a little bit more.

“I made some good pitches early, then pressed a little too much and put myself and the team in a tough situation. Just have to be better pitch to pitch. A tough one to swallow.”

Third baseman Yoan Moncada’s infield single was the only hit against Dunning.

“He made pitches and located,” Jose Abreu said.

“This is how we’ve played the whole season. One step ahead, two back and back and forth. We have to keep grinding and find that consistency.’’

Grandal exchanged words with Josh Smith after Tanner Banks struck out Smith to end the seventh. Smith’s bat clipped Grandal’s hand on the follow-through. Some players spilled out of the dugouts and bullpens, but order was quickly restored by the umpires.

Lopez ready

Reynaldo Lopez (back strain) threw 21 pitches against Tim Anderson and Gavin Sheets in a simulated game and is expected to be reinstated from the injured list Tuesday in Kansas City.

“Outstanding,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘He was nasty. He felt really good coming out of it.”

This and that

Anderson (0-for-4) is 0-for-13 with six strikeouts in the series.

Luis Robert had a planned day off as he eases his way back from the injured list (light-headedness) and will play center field Sunday.

Robert did not have any plays in center Friday, but “he worked hard during practices the last two days,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘He was tracking down fly balls.’’

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