White Sox 5, Royals 2

Andre Rienzo started playing baseball in Brazil because his

mother played softball. He fell in love with it even though all the

kids around him were kicking around a soccer ball.

On Wednesday night, he may have inspired other youngsters back

home to pick up a glove.

The White Sox rookie pitched six innings and took advantage of a

five-run frame highlighted by Dayan Viciedo’s grand slam for a 5-2

victory over the Kansas City Royals. It gave Rienzo the first win

for a pitcher from his South American country where baseball is

nary a second thought.

”Brazil is just about soccer. I’m trying to open doors,”

explained Rienzo, whose brothers also play baseball back home.

”It’s all soccer, soccer, soccer. I hope that I will open doors

and people will see more guys playing baseball.”

Rienzo (1-0) allowed only a sacrifice fly to Mike Moustakas

while slicing through a scuffling Royals lineup. The right-hander

allowed just five hits and two walks in helping the White Sox win

their season-best fifth straight game.

Addison Reed worked the ninth for his second save of the series

and 33rd on the year.

”Again, it’s just one of those nights where he battled,” White

Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Rienzo, who earned his first

career win in his fifth big league start. ”He gave up a couple

walks but he was able to fight his way out of it, get a groundball

when he needed it. Just a good, gutsy job by him. Once you get him

that lead, he just kind of worked it.”

Viciedo’s grand slam off Jeremy Guthrie (12-10) in the fourth

followed an RBI single by Adam Dunn that had given the White Sox

the lead. Their five runs in the frame matched the number of runs

the Royals’ woeful offense had mustered in the previous 22

innings.

David Lough drove in another run for the Royals in the sixth,

but that was all they managed in another lackluster offensive

performance. They finished with six hits on the night.

The Royals were shut out by John Danks and the White Sox bullpen

in the series opener, and their inability to get anybody home has

been the biggest reason they’ve lost four straight and seven of

their last nine. That calamitous slide has dropped Kansas City from

wild-card contention after climbing within four games of the final

spot just over a week ago.

”We have just not played well. There’s no rhyme or reason,”

designated hitter Billy Butler said. ”In 162 games it’s going to

happen. We’re in a tough stretch and we’re just not hitting. We’re

not getting guys in when we have them in position.”

On this night, it was Rienzo who took a turn breezing through

the Royals.

The 25-year-old from Sao Paulo, one of just two Brazilians in

the big leagues, didn’t allow a hit until back-to-back singles in

the fourth. He allowed another in the fifth and two in the

sixth.

Otherwise, he was basically untouchable – just as he had been in

the minors.

After rocketing through two levels last season, Rienzo began

catching the eye of White Sox brass at Triple-A Charlotte. He was

4-0 with a 1.23 ERA over his last four starts, including a

no-hitter on July 25 – just before his call-up to the big league

team.

Rienzo’s rise hasn’t been without controversy, though. He was

suspended for 50 games early last season after testing positive for

a performance-enhancing substance.

The smile on his face Wednesday night seemed to indicate that

incident is long in the past.

”Viciedo hit the grand slam. The defense played great. I’m

glad,” Rienzo said.

Guthrie wasn’t feeling nearly as pleased in the Kansas City

clubhouse. He threw 72 of 100 pitches for strikes, an exceptionally

high rate, but couldn’t get many hitters to miss them.

After winning four straight, he’s been savagely roughed up in

his last three starts. He gave up five runs on 10 hits in a loss to

Boston a couple weeks ago, and four runs on a career-high 13 hits

at Detroit in another defeat his last time out.

”I dug myself into a big hole,” Guthrie said. ”I made

mistakes tonight.”

NOTES: Viciedo finished with three hits for Chicago. … The

White Sox optioned OF Blake Tekotte to Triple-A Charlotte after the

game. They’ll make a corresponding roster move Wednesday. …

Guthrie threw a pitch in the second inning that slipped past C

Salvador Perez and got lost in the padding around advertisements

behind home plate. The exact same thing happened to a passed ball

thrown by Royals RHP Ervin Santana the previous night. … White

Sox LHP Jose Quintana goes to the mound in the series finale on

Thursday night. RHP James Shields gets the start for Kansas

City.