PITTSBURGH -- Reynaldo Lopez's first win of 2018 remains elusive. Even more disheartening for the White Sox right-hander, he endured his shortest start of the season.It wasn't like that for most of his previous seven starts (five no-decisions, two losses) But facing the Pirates on Tuesday, there were no moral
PITTSBURGH -- Reynaldo Lopez's first win of 2018 remains elusive. Even more disheartening for the White Sox right-hander, he endured his shortest start of the season.
It wasn't like that for most of his previous seven starts (five no-decisions, two losses) But facing the Pirates on Tuesday, there were no moral victories. The Bucs got to Lopez early and often as the White Sox fell, 7-0, at PNC Park.
Lopez lasted two-plus innings, his shortest start with the White Sox. He gave up six runs on seven hits. He walked two and had no strikeouts, as his ERA jumped from 2.44 to 3.50. In eight starts this season, he has received six runs of support.
"I think it's his youth, He didn't really feel comfortable in the beginning," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Today was one of those days where he wasn't able to rebound and refocus."
Pittsburgh right-hander Trevor Williams stifled the White Sox over seven innings, scattering six hits while striking out six with no walks.
The 24-year-old Lopez has been the White Sox best starter so far this season. His ERA was 1.78 after five starts, and he's given up more than two earned runs just twice this season. His most recent start, against the Pirates last week, was a gem that saw him go 7 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with six strikeouts.
Facing the Pirates again, Lopez never got going. Adam Frazier hit his third home run of the season to start the bottom of the first. Gregory Polanco followed with a single, and then Starling Marte and Josh Bell each doubled. After seven pitches, Lopez and the Sox trailed, 3-0.
"You feel bad, you feel frustrated," Lopez said through an interpreter. "You just want to pitch good. Tonight was just a bad game."
Renteria's comment about "focus" issues was conveyed to Lopez. He did not agree.
"I felt good," he said. "I felt good at the beginning of the game. I don't know what happened. I was throwing strikes, I was feeling good. I don't have an answer. I feel like I didn't lose my focus. I don't know. I think it was a bad day."
If the White Sox could glean anything positive, it was the performance of reliever Chris Beck, who bounced back from a rough outing on Saturday that saw him allow three runs over two-thirds of an inning in a loss to the Cubs. Beck threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings against Pittsburgh, allowing only one baserunner.
"My job tonight was to just string some innings to save the bullpen," Beck said. "My main focus was to make sure nobody else came in the game till the sixth or seventh inning."
"Beck gave us solid innings," Renteria said. "Minimized everything he could possibly do."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Frazier sets tempo for Bucs: Frazier homered on the second pitch Lopez threw on Wednesday to set the tempo for the rest of the Pirates' offense. Lopez insisted he was unaffected, despite what came afterward.
"Not at all," Lopez said. "I think I executed the pitch where I wanted it to be, and he did a good job. I tip my cap. He did what he had to do."
HE SAID IT
"Maybe you come in living on your laurels, so to speak. I don't know if that's what he did. I hope you write that. I don't think that's what he did. But it's something that when you come into every Major League game it does require a commitment to focus and to execute. That's also a mental and an emotional strength that you develop, I think guys can develop that. I think he's got the wherewithal to do that. And we're gonna do everything we can to see if we can get him to that point where it finally clicks." -- Renteria, on Lopez
The White Sox close a two-game set Wednesday having lost seven of eight overall. The have been outscored, 45-21, in their last eight road games. Left-hander Hector Santiago, who has mostly pitched out of the bullpen, will make his third start of the season. His mound opponent for the 11:35 a.m. CT game at PNC Park will be right-hander Jameson Taillon.
Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.