Dylan Cease completed five innings. And then some.
In grand fashion.
The White Sox’ talented right-hander, who hadn’t pitched more than 4 2⁄3 innings in his first four starts of the season, pitched a seven-inning complete game shutout, helping the Sox complete a doubleheader sweep of the Tigers with an 11-0 victory Thursday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Cease struck out nine, walked none and allowed three hits. It was the first shutout of his career. He threw 91 pitches, 66 for strikes.
“The stuff has always been there but it’s about how to utilize it,” Cease said. “I’m not going to get too high or low from this one. There’s a lot more starts to go, but that’s what we are looking for.”
The Sox improved to 19-1 against left-handed starters since the start of the 2020 season. Cease improved to 6-0 during his career against Detroit (8-18).
Cease matched his career high by going seven innings.
“He said after the last time he pitched he was getting too distracted, too many thoughts in his head,” La Russa said. “He was going to get his work done and get to the mound, see a target and throw it. Keep it simple. That’s what he said, that’s what he did. It’s a great way to pitch.”
Yoan Moncada hit a three-run homer and Yermin Mercedes hit a 449-shot into the shrubbery beyond the center field wall for his fifth homer as the Sox (14-10) blew the game wide open in a seven-run fifth.
Jose Abreu singled in two runs against Michael Fulmer after Leury Garcia and Nick Madrigal each drove in runs with singles in a four-run third. Fulmer replaced left-hander Matthew Boyd, who left the game in the second inning with knee tendinitis.
Garcia knocked in three runs, stole a base and made a running catch in right field after driving in the go-ahead runs in the Sox’ 3-1 victory in Game 1.
Andrew Vaughn was 3-for-4 including two doubles and two runs scored in the nightcap, raising his average to .273. Madrigal had three hits, and the bottom third of the lineup — Vaughn, Garcia and Madrigal — combined for six of the Sox’ 15 hits.
The Sox, who took two of three from the Tigers, have won six of their last seven games. They open a three-game home series against the Indians Friday.
In the opener, Carlos Rodon pitched six innings of one-run ball with a career high 12 strikeouts.