A stirring comeback win in Jose Abreu’s absence might provide just the spark the Chicago White Sox need to get back on track.
Another strong outing from Andre Rienzo wouldn’t hurt, either.
The Brazilian right-hander will try to improve to 4-0 when the White Sox continue their three-game series against the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday night.
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Chicago (22-24) appeared on its way to a seventh loss in nine games Monday by giving up five runs in the first inning, but the White Sox took the lead for good in the fifth en route to a 7-6 victory over the Royals.
With the majors’ home run leader out with an injured left ankle, Paul Konerko hit a tiebreaking two-run shot and Alexei Ramirez matched a season high with four RBIs, driving in three on one swing in the third inning. Dayan Viciedo had a solo shot in the fourth.
An MRI on Monday showed that Abreu did not damage any ligaments and he’s expected to be re-evaluated when the White Sox return home Thursday and after he spends a couple of days in a walking boot.
"Some way you have to fill it in and make do until he’s back, and then you hope when he comes back, he picks up where he left off," manager Robin Ventura told the team’s website.
Rienzo (3-0, 4.20 ERA) is looking to add to his first major league win streak and help the White Sox win their third in a row against their AL Central rivals. The right-hander gave up a pair of solo homers and two walks over 6 1-3 innings in his latest start Wednesday in Oakland, but did not get a decision in a 4-2 victory.
Chicago has won in each of his six appearances this season, including five starts.
"He’s done well," White Sox skipper Ventura said. "He’s improved, I know that. Today is no different. He was tough out there. He was throwing strikes, kind of bobbing and weaving to get through."
Rienzo was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against Kansas City as a rookie in 2013.
In this matchup with the Royals, he’ll pitch opposite Yordano Ventura (2-3, 2.40), who is seeking to end his first career losing streak. The right-hander has allowed five runs over 12 2-3 innings in his last two starts but received a combined two runs of support.
He gave up a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz along with six other hits and fanned nine in 6 1-3 innings of Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Baltimore.
"He pitched great," second baseman Johnny Giavotella said. "We just couldn’t back him up with any runs."
Ventura suffered a 6-5 road loss in his only start against the White Sox on Sept. 28, allowing four runs and six hits – including three homers – in four innings. Marcus Semien had a solo shot and a double against him in that game.
Adam Dunn also hit a two-run homer off the right-hander.