Another challenge, another dominant performance Sunday for White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease.
Cease had his career-high 21‰-inning scoreless streak snapped when Ramon Laureano hit a solo home run in the second inning, but he coasted through most of six innings of a 4-1 victory against the Athletics.
‘‘If you’re game-planning against him, he’ll look this way in this start and tweaks it and goes this way,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘It’s nice to be able to have that kind of repertoire where you can stress this or that.’’
Cease threw 59 sliders but also incorporated his knuckle curve on 13 pitches to finish with seven strikeouts. He improved to 7-2 with a 0.51 ERA in his last 12 starts, with all four runs he has allowed in his last 70 innings on solo homers.
‘‘This one was a little hairy in the sense they almost hit three home runs in the [second], but fortunately two of those went foul,’’ Cease said.
Nevertheless, Cease and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (2021) are the only non-opener starters in the modern era (since 1901) to allow one earned run or fewer in 12 consecutive starts.
Cease is the first Sox pitcher since at least 1913 to record a sub-1.00 ERA in consecutive months (0.33 in June, 0.76 in July).
La Russa chose his words carefully in defending the actions of soon-to-be-suspended shortstop Tim Anderson.
‘‘The best compliment you can give him is you never see him out there where he’s not emotionally involved in the game,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘That’s part of his greatness. And the more attention he gets, fans all across the baseball world are saying, ‘Wow, look at this guy.’ If you know that, then you know that’s part of his greatness and part of what entertains baseball fans.’’
Anderson appealed his three-game suspension and undisclosed fine after the bill of his helmet struck the cap of plate umpire Nick Mahrley during an argument after Anderson was ejected for arguing a strike call Friday.
Lopez back to action soon?
Reliever Reynaldo Lopez said he thinks his back will heal in time for him to return Aug. 9, when the Sox play a doubleheader at Kansas City.
‘‘I went to two different doctors to see what was going on,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘They were confident it was good. It wasn’t anything serious or that would need surgery. I think we are in a very good spot.’’
Lopez, who hasn’t allowed a homer in 42⅓ innings and has a 2.98 ERA, said he first experienced discomfort two weekends ago in Minnesota. He thought he could work through the tightness, but it persisted.
This and that
Outfield prospect Oscar Colas went 1-for-3 in Double-A Birmingham’s 8-5 loss to Tennessee. Colas sat out Saturday after getting hit in the neck by a pitch.
• The Sox announced they had signed all 20 of their picks from the amateur draft, as well as 10 undrafted free agents.