Lopez strikes out 14, White Sox fan 20 total in victory against Tigers

SHARE Lopez strikes out 14, White Sox fan 20 total in victory against Tigers

White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez allowed one run and struck out a career-high 14 in six innings Sunday against the Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field. (AP Photo/David Banks)

On his 105th and final pitch of the afternoon Sunday, White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez reached back and fired a 97 mph fastball over the outside corner.

Swing and a miss. Strike three.

Lopez excitedly pounded his fist into his glove as he walked off the mound. Catcher Welington Castillo sprang to his feet from behind the plate and pumped his arm. Teammates gathered in the dugout to congratulate the young pitcher, who finished with a career-high 14 strikeouts.

‘‘Today’s outing was one of the best of my career, definitely,’’ Lopez said through an interpreter. ‘‘Everything worked perfectly, and I felt good.’’

In a 4-1 victory against the Tigers, the Sox’ pitching staff finished with 20 strikeouts, setting a franchise record and tying the big-league record for a nine-inning game. Relievers Jace Fry, Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome added two strikeouts apiece in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings after Lopez’s six-inning gem.

Seventeen of the strikeouts were swinging, and three came on called strikes. Sox pitchers struck out at least two batters in every inning, and Lopez fanned the side in the second and sixth.

‘‘It is a big deal because it’s the big leagues,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘It’s hard to do that, and it’s hard to win a major-league ballgame on top of it. I commend them for what they did, and I think every single guy in that locker room right now is really happy that it happened today.’’

Lopez set the tone from the first at-bat, when he struck out Jeimer Candelario on a full-count fastball. He went on to become the first Sox pitcher to notch 14 strikeouts in a game since Chris Sale did so Aug. 26, 2016, against the Mariners.

It was the third consecutive quality start from Lopez, who was hit hard in his first three outings.


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‘‘I just regained my rhythm,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘My mechanics [and] rhythm [were] off the first few outings, and the last three I regained it. I’ve been able to perform at the level that I know that I can do it, and the results have been there.’’

Castillo sensed Lopez might be in for a good day as he caught him in the bullpen before the game.

‘‘He was commanding his fastball a lot,’’ Castillo said. ‘‘He had a lot of life on the fastball and really good breaking balls after the fastball. He was 95 to 98 [mph], and a pretty good slider and changeup were there, too. Everything was working for him.’’

Castillo provided early run support with a two-run double in the first. The Sox then tacked on runs in the seventh and eighth.

A strange sequence in the third led to Renteria’s second ejection of the season and 21st of his career. After a dropped third strike, Jose Abreu was pegged in the back by Tigers catcher Grayson Greiner as he ran down the line. Plate umpire Tony Randazzo ruled Abreu was inside the basepath and called him out.

That prompted an angry protest from Renteria, who marched down the line until he reached first base. He waved his arms, backed up three steps and again waved his arms before stepping toward first again, as if to show the umpire how one reaches the base.

‘‘First of all, [Abreu] is 4 feet wide, and his foot is hitting the baseline,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I mean, he’d have to really get over and then reach over with his foot to touch the base. It’s kind of a weird thing.

‘‘But for me, the story is ‘Lopey’ and everything else that these guys did today and just the way they fought. It was just a good game.’’

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