ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The White Sox stopped a long skid at the expense of the slumping Tampa Bay Rays.
Leury García had four hits, including three doubles, Reynaldo López won for the first time in six starts, and the Sox stopped a seven-game losing streak by beating the Rays, 9-2, on Friday night.
“It was one of those games that we needed,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “We needed something convincing, something very positive.”
García became the first Sox player to have three doubles in a game since Adam Eaton against Minnesota on Aug. 2, 2014.
López (5-8) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts. He had been 0-2 with a 5.34 ERA since beating Kansas City on June 9.
“Keep things simple, focus on my pitches, execute pitches and do my job,” López said through an interpreter.
Tampa Bay fell a season-high nine games behind the American League East-leading Yankees after arriving in Florida about 3:30 a.m. after a doubleheader loss in New York. The Rays have dropped behind Cleveland and Oakland for the two AL wild-card spots – Tampa Bay held an eight-game lead over the third-place team in the wild-card race at the start of play June 11 but have lost 20 of 35 since.
“Obviously with the second half, these games, they mean stuff,” Tampa Bay right fielder Austin Meadows said. “Just keep pushing and see where we end up.”
Rays rookie Brendan McKay (1-1) lasted only 31/3 innings in his fourth start, allowing six runs – five earned – and nine hits as his ERA doubled from 1.69 to 3.72. McKay had given up three runs over 16 innings in the first three outings.
“Command wasn’t there early,” McKay said. “Every inning I was working with guys on base. You can get out of it sometimes, but today wasn’t one of those days.”
García doubled leading off the first and scored from second when José Abreu’s hard grounder went off the glove of second baseman Mike Brosseau and into right field for an error.
The Sox went ahead, 4-1, in the second when Adam Engel beat out a two-out grounder to shortstop, García hit a two-run double that dropped between Meadows and Brosseau in shallow right, and Yoán Moncada followed with an RBI double.
“There’s some plays that we’ve got to convert into outs,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.
Yolmer Sánchez homered, and Moncada had an RBI single during the fourth. Engel hit a run-scoring triple in the fifth and scored on Colin Poche’s wild pitch for an 8-2 lead. Sanchez added a run-scoring double in the ninth.
Ji-Man Choi and Brosseau drove in runs for the Rays.
Tampa Bay went 1 for 24 with runners in scoring position while losing three of four to the Yankees and began Friday with a .248 RISP average, sixth-worst in the majors.
“We’re a really good offense when nobody is on-base,” Cash said. “Believe me, we have pounded our heads against the tables.”
Tampa Bay went 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position Friday night.
Sox: Outfielder Eloy Jiménez (right ulnar nerve contusion) could take batting practice Saturday.
Rays: Second baseman Brandon Lowe, out since July 3 with a bruised right shin bone, is jogging.
Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (11-4) starts Saturday night against Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough (8-3). Giolito is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Rays, allowing two earned runs in 14 innings.