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Fister's strong start for naught as 'pen sputters

Right-hander, starting a day early after Hamels' late scratch, fires 7 scoreless before 8th-inning White Sox rally
Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Doug Fister may have taken the mound a day earlier than originally expected, but a change of schedule didn't faze the right-hander in the least.

The Rangers' bullpen, however, couldn't make Fister's seven scoreless innings stand up.

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CHICAGO -- Doug Fister may have taken the mound a day earlier than originally expected, but a change of schedule didn't faze the right-hander in the least.

The Rangers' bullpen, however, couldn't make Fister's seven scoreless innings stand up.

View Full Game Coverage

Fister, starting in place of Cole Hamels -- scratched from his start Thursday with neck stiffness -- registered his best start of the season. But it all went for naught when reliever Jose Leclerc surrendered four unearned runs in the eighth inning of a 4-2 loss to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

"It's a frustrating night," Fister said. "Sometimes, breaks fall your way, sometimes, they don't. Unfortunately, tonight wasn't that night."

After retiring the first two hitters in the eighth, Leclerc gave up a ground-rule double to Yoan Moncada before his throwing error allowed Yolmer Sanchez to reach on a play that would have gotten the Rangers out of the inning, but that Leclerc said he rushed. Leclerc then walked three straight hitters, including an intentional walk to Jose Abreu, before Welington Castillo drove in a pair of runs with a single off of Kevin Jepsen to cap the rally.

Video: TEX@CWS: Castillo hits go-ahead single in the 8th

Leclerc felt frustrated by the inning that turned what appeared to be headed for victory into another disappointing finish.

"I know I can do a better job," Leclerc said. "But I can tell you I tried to do my best and things didn't go how I wanted them to be."

The Rangers put runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth inning when Isiah Kiner-Falefa was hit by a pitch and Robinson Chirinos singled. But White Sox closer Nate Jones struck out Delino DeShields to end the threat. The loss -- the Rangers' fourth in their last five games -- came on a night when they twice had chances to get out of the inning in the eighth, but couldn't manage to do so.

"It leaves a bad taste in your mouth to walk off the field in that manner," said manager Jeff Banister, who was ejected in the eighth inning after arguing balls and strikes.

"But these guys know they have to show back up tomorrow and be ready to play. We've been through some tough situations throughout the year. I feel confident these guys will respond. In the grand scheme, it's one game."

Fister scattered six hits and struck out four and was only in trouble once when the White Sox put runners on second and third with just one out in the third inning. But Fister struck out Moncada and Sanchez to keep the White Sox from tying the score.

Two of the Rangers' hits came in the third inning when Ronald Guzman led off the frame with a single and advanced on a DeShields sacrifice. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a single for the only run the Rangers could manage off of White Sox starter James Shields.

Video: TEX@CWS: Choo hits an RBI knock to center in the 3rd

The Rangers added an insurance run in the eighth when Nomar Mazara blooped a triple over Abreu's head at first that trickled down the right-field line. The hit scored Choo from first after he'd singled with one out.

Video: TEX@CWS: Mazara scores Choo on an RBI triple to right

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With the Rangers leading 2-1 with two outs in the eighth, Leclerc appeared to throw a third strike to Nicky Delmonico. The pitch was instead called a ball by home plate umpire Paul Nauert, who then ejected Banister after he went to make a pitching change. Delmonico ended up walking, which loaded the bases before Leclerc walked in a run and Jepsen allowed a two-run single.

"I felt it was a quality pitch -- a pitch that should have been called a strike," Banister said.

HE SAID IT
"I didn't hold my tongue … I'm going to fight for my guy, I'm going for fight for what I thought was right and listen, I still feel the same way." -- Banister, on his eighth-inning ejection

UP NEXT
Left-hander Matt Moore will start a day earlier than expected after Cole Hamels was scratched from his start Thursday. Moore (1-5, 7.82 ERA) allowed three runs and struck out five over three innings in his last start. He will face Carson Fulmer in the second game of the four-game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

Texas Rangers