No one can blame Johnny Cueto for the Chicago White Sox's shortcomings on Thursday night. The veteran righty was brilliant in the series opener against the Texas Rangers, but the Sox offense could only produce five hits in the 3-2 loss. Aided by six walks, the South Siders reached base 11 times total, but they could only muster up one extra-base hit.
Cueto Guts It Out
Johnny Cueto provided another gutsy performance for the Pale Hose. He allowed only three runs and scattered 11 hits without a walk while pitching all eight innings. The 36-year-old threw 76 of his 106 pitches for strikes.
The White Sox have grown accustomed to these types of performances from the veteran. However, they have not been able to take advantage of his strong pitching as Cueto is 4-5 on the year.
Texas got on the board in the second inning to open the scoring. Nathaniel Lowe led off the frame with a double and came around to score on a single by Leody Taveras.
Cueto surrendered two more runs in the seventh. Adolis Garcia reached base on a leadoff infield single but was forced out at second on a savvy play by Cueto when Taveras attempted to sacrifice bunt him over. Ezequiel Duran singled and Meibry Viloria had the tie-breaking pinch-hit single to score Taveras. Marcus Semien then hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Duran for the Rangers' third and deciding run.
Texas starter Cole Ragans, who had Tommy John surgery twice after being a first-round draft pick in 2016, allowed one unearned run and walked four while fanning three over five innings in his MLB debut.
Another Lifeless Offensive Performance
The White Sox got on the board in the third when Luis Robert walked and reached third on a fielding error by Adolis Garcia. The visitors' rally in the seventh cut the deficit to one when Yoan Moncada’s two-out triple scored Jose Abreu, who had reached on a walk.
AJ Pollock followed with a walk but Yasmani Grandal lined out to left field to end the threat.
The South Siders went down quietly in the ninth, which included a pair of strikeouts from the top of the lineup.
Luis Robert served as the DH in his first game since July 15. He is expected to play center field Friday.
Of the White Sox's 52 losses on the season, 22 of them have come in series openers.
The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians both lost Thursday, keeping the White Sox within two games of first place in the AL Central standings.
What’s On Tap Next?
Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease makes his first start in August after earning American League Pitcher of the Month honors in June and July. The Texas Rangers will give the ball to right-hander Glenn Otto, who is 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in seven starts since his return from the COVID injured list. NBC Sports Chicago will broadcast the game beginning at 7:05 PM CT and Sox On Tap has the postgame show.