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Lopez’s seven scoreless innings go to waste as Twins rally past White Sox

MINNEAPOLIS — Reynaldo Lopez pitched seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball against the Twins Tuesday at Target Field, another promising start for the 24-year-old right-hander who looks like he could be a sturdy piece of White Sox starting rotations for years to come.

Unfortunately for Lopez and the White Sox, there was no celebrating an extraordinary job well done after the Twins rallied against right-hander Nate Jones for four runs in the eighth inning to claim a 4-2 victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader.

Lopez struck out four, walked four and allowed one hit, a double to former Sox Eduardo Escobar, who ruined everything in the eighth when he launched a three-run homer over the center field wall with two outs.

Jones (2-2) opened the eighth by retiring the first two batters he faced and got Brian Dozier to hit a sharp ground ball to third baseman Yolmer Sanchez’ glove side. Sanchez couldn’t field it, but he almost had Dozier at first anyway but first baseman Jose Abreu couldn’t pick his low throw out of the dirt. Eddie Rosario walked and Miguel Sano doubled home Dozier before Escobar connected for his 11th homer of the season.

White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez throws to the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game 1 of a doubleheader baseball game Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Minneapolis. As a makeup game from Jackie Robinson Day, all players and coaches wear 42. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn) ORG XMIT: MNBK105

“Jonesy being one of our best, we put him in that situation because potentially it could open up and he would face the meat of their order and he did,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He wasn’t able to get out of it.”

Yoan Moncada homered to lead off the game against right-hander Fernando Romero, and he singled, stole a base and scored on Abreu’s 22nd double to account for the Sox’ runs.

Lopez is the first White Sox starter to allow one hit in seven innings or more since Jose Quintana pitched eight innings of one-run ball, giving up one hit, on May 19, 2017 at the Seattle Mariners.

“I was able to command all my pitches,” Lopez said through translator Billy Russo. “When I wanted to put my slider on the ground I was able to do it, and I was able to elevate my fastball. There were just like two or three pitches I didn’t command, but the rest I was in control.”

Lopez, who touched 96 and 97 mph with his fastball, lowered his ERA to 3.42 as the Sox (18-39) lost to open a four-game series and seven-game road trip that continues in Boston. The Sox are coming off a series win at home against the Brewers.

“You want to win. Losses are never easy to digest,” Lopez said.

“You have to keep your focus, do your work and your preparation. For me, it doesn’t matter: the wins are important as a team. As a pitcher, my job is to execute, do my job and give my team a chance to win games.”