Robert’s tiebreaking homer leads White Sox over Mariners 3-2
CHICAGO - Luis Robert hit his first home run of the season, a tiebreaking drive in the sixth inning that led the White Sox over the Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Tuesday in their home opener and extended their winning streak to three.
Robert homered off Matt Brash (0-1), a 23-year-old right-hander making his major league debut.
"He showed a lot of why he’s so special," manager Tony La Russa said of Robert.
Seattle lost its third straight game after starting with two wins. The Mariners have scored 10 runs: only Baltimore (six) and Milwaukee (nine) began the night with fewer.
Seattle was 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, getting an RBI single from Jesse Winker with two outs in the ninth off Liam Hendriks, who struck out Mitch Haniger on three pitches for his first save. The Mariners are hitting .156 (7 for 45) with runners in scoring position this season.
Reynaldo López (1-0) relieved left-hander Bennett Souza with two outs and two on in the fifth and threw a fastball past Haniger for a called third strike.
With Chicago leading 2-1, Aaron Bummer struck out Winker to strand two runners in the seventh. Winkler has gotten all seven of his outs this season on strikeouts.
With the potential tying run at second, Kendall Graveman threw a sinker past Jared Kelenic for a called third strike that ended the eighth.
Brash, a 23-year-old native of Kingston, Ontario, hadn’t pitched above Double-A prior to Tuesday. Brash relied on a sweeping knuckle-curve and a fastball clocked as high as 99.2 mph, on a first-inning pitch to José Abreu. Brash threw 51 knuck-curves, 30 fastballs and four changeups.
"I was just attacking the hitters," Brash said. "I wasn’t too worried about the score."
Brash’s lone walk, to Josh Harrison with one out in the third set, up Chicago’s first run when shortstop J.P. Crawford bobbled Tim Anderson’s potential inning-ending double play grounder for an error.
"He’s got a great future," La Russa said of Brash.
Vince Velasquez, making his White Sox debut, gave up one run and two hits in four innings. Eugenio Suárez had both hits off Velasquez, including a solo homer in the second.
White Sox starting pitchers Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and Velasquez have allowed three earned runs in 17 innings.
Robert walked in the eighth, stole two bases and scored when Eloy Jiménez bounced into a forceout.
Robert made a leaping catch against the center field wall to rob Winker of an extra-base hit in third, and Jiménez made a running catch in front of the left field wall to rob Luis Torrens to start the seventh.
"When you’re on the field, you don’t think about it," said Robert, who missed more than three months of the 2021 season because of a hip flexor strain. "Injuries, that’s part of the game."
White Sox Hall of Fame outfielder Harold Baines, who underwent heart and kidney transplant surgery nearly 12 months ago, threw the ceremonial first pitch.
Mariners: Reliever Andrés Muñoz won’t pitch on consecutive days through April, manager Scott Servais said. Munoz missed all of 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and pitched in one game for the Mariners in 2021. Muñoz struck out the side in the eighth inning Monday against the Twins.
White Sox: Giolito (abdominal strain) and OF AJ Pollock (right hamstring strain) were put on the 10-day IL, Giolito retroactive to April 9 and Pollock retroactive to April 10. RHPs Jimmy Lambert and Anderson Severino were recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. Lambert will start Thursday, manager Tony La Russa said.
The Mariners will send 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray (1-0, 1.29) to the mound on Wednesday, while the White Sox will go with LHP Dallas Keuchel, who will make his season debut. Ray threw seven innings of three-hit ball in a 2-1 win Friday over the Twins. Keuchel had a career-high 5.28 ERA last season and was left off the 2021 playoff roster.