ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Tim Anderson left the White Sox’ game against the Angels Sunday night with left hamstring tightness after running out a ground ball to open the game.
In the bottom of the first inning, Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani hit a 451-foot homer on the first pitch he saw from Sox right-hander Dylan Cease in a two-run inning.
It wasn’t the start the Sox (1-3) were looking for trying to gain a split of their season-opening series at Angel Stadium, and the Angels went on for a 7-4 walk-off victory.
The Sox were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and did not have an RBI to go with their four runs, all of which scored on a wild pitch and throwing errors.
Jared Walsh’s home run against right-hander Codi Heuer in the fifth inning broke a 3-all tie, and after the Sox tied it on closer Raisel Iglesias’ throwing error allowing Nick Madrigal to score after he was caught between second and third, the Angels walked it off on Walsh’s three-run homer against Matt Foster.
Anderson is day-to-day after coming up sore while running out a grounder to second baseman David Fletcher.
“It looks like it will be short, not serious,” manager Tony La Russa said. “Pulled it slightly.”
The Sox opened the season without outfielders Eloy Jimenez (torn pectoral muscle) and Adam Engel (hamstring) and lost right-hander Jimmy Cordero to Tommy John surgery, so they can’t bear too much more injury stress. Leury Garcia replaced Anderson at shortstop.
Ohtani, batting second in manager Joe Maddon’s lineup, pitched and hit for the first time in his career and was the first starting pitcher to bat second since Jack Dunleavy in 1903. He threw the fastest pitch of any starting pitcher the young season (100.6 mph) and had the hardest-hit homer of any player.
Ohtani pitched 4 2⁄3 innings and left in a 3-3 tie after the Sox scored two runs on a dropped third strike when catcher Max Stassi’s throw to first allowed Jose Abreu to score from second after Garcia scored from third. Ohtani was standing near the plate and Abreu upended him as he slid across.
Coming off an encouraging spring (1.06 ERA), Cease needed 30 pitches to get through a rocky first inning. He allowed three runs on five hits and three walks, throwing 92 pitches (53 strikes).
La Russa said he told his team it was one of the most impressive losses he’s been involved in.
“Fact they didn’t give in and give up is a great sign of toughness and guts this club has,” La Russa said.
Rodon “addicted to work”
Carlos Rodon makes his first start Monday, opening a three-game series at Seattle coming off 13 2⁄3 excellent Cactus League innings in which he allowed two runs.
For assistant pitching coach Curt Hasler, the excellent Rodon in March was all about him being healthy and the finish in his delivery.
“His finish, staying into his leg or foot helps him gain the right direction,” Hasler said. “And he’s out there every day working on it, addicted to the work, and it’s paying off big time. His velocity is back and he’s healthy again.”
Rodon struck out 16 batters and walked only one in spring training.
Lefty Justus Sheffield starts for the Mariners. The Sox have won 15 straight games against lefty starters, tied with the 1939 New York Yankees for the third-longest streak in MLB history. The Sox’ last loss against team with a lefty starter was on Sept. 28, 2019 against the Tigers and Tyler Alexander.
This and that
Andrew Vaughn did not start but will Monday and Tuesday against Mariners left-handers. La Russa gave Billy Hamilton his first start in left field Sunday.
*La Russa said Adam Engel (hamstring) is progressing well at the facility in Schaumburg. Engel is expected back in the middle of the month.