Allowing Tigers center fielder Leonys Martin to reach third base became a vital error for the White Sox on Sunday.
Martin led off the game with a single and stole second. After Jeimer Candelario struck out, Martin advanced to third on Welington Castillo’s passed ball and scored on Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly. Nicholas Castellanos flew out to end the inning.
That was all the Tigers would need in their 1-0 victory, which earned them a three-game sweep at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Sox had Tigers starter Mike Fiers on the ropes in the first, loading the bases with one out on a single, hit batter and walk. But Nicky Delmonico lined out and Castillo grounded out. Fiers allowed only two more baserunners, both on hits, in the next five innings.
Reynaldo Lopez allowed only two hits — both to Martin — in seven innings, though he also walked five. Sox manager Rick Renteria still praised the righty, who struck out five and was particularly satisfied with his slider, which he threw 16 times.
“I’ve been happy with the way that pitch is working out because that’s kind of a new pitch for me,” Lopez said. “I think I’ve been able to use it in an effective way. I wasn’t throwing that pitch for a long time. I’m very happy with that pitch right now.”
Said Renteria: “He has made some adjustments since the beginning of the season, trying to make sure he commands the zone. I thought that today he went out and felt very good about where he was at when he started the game, and it showed.”
Former Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon was impressive in his Sox debut, fanning all four batters he faced. Rondon, who was called up from Class AAA Charlotte before the game, faced Cabrera first and touched 100 mph on his second pitch. He struck him out with an offspeed pitch.
“I knew I was facing one of the best hitters in the world,” Rondon said. “To be able to face him and to strike him out was a really, really good experience.”
Rondon was an unexpected arrival after he was reassigned to Charlotte out of spring training. But the Sox needed help in the bullpen after Juan Minaya allowed three runs and five walks in one inning over three appearances.
“I wasn’t expecting to be here as soon as I was,” Rondon said. “I’m very thankful to the White Sox for the opportunity they have given me just to show again what I’m able to do at this level. I want to take advantage of every single day and take full advantage of this opportunity because I know I’m able to do a good job here.”
Avisail Garcia continued to carry over his strong play from last season. He had two of the Sox’ three hits, singling to right field in the first inning and to left in the third. Garcia also reached on a fielding error by first baseman Candelario in the ninth. He’s leading the team with a .343 batting average.