Mat Latos improves to 4-0 as White Sox beat Rangers 4-1
CHICAGO (AP) Mat Latos felt he could've done better. Still, it was good enough to maintain his remarkable start.
Latos pitched six solid innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Texas Rangers 4-1 Sunday to complete a sweep of the three-game series.
The 6-foot-6 right-hander, who signed a $3 million, one-year deal with Chicago in February, was charged with one run and seven hits. Latos (4-0) has allowed two earned runs in 24 1/3 innings in his four starts while matching his win total from all of last year.
''I battled today,'' he said. ''I didn't have good fastball command, I fell behind in the count early today. I was lucky. I got away with a couple of pitches to some good guys.''
Although Latos might not have been as sharp as earlier outings this season, White Sox manager Robin Ventura wasn't ready to attribute the newcomer's success to good fortune.
''Matty threw great. He continues to impress,'' Ventura said. ''That's a tough lineup to go through.''
The Rangers were swept in a series of three games or more for the first time since last July by the Angels.
''Sometimes you tip your hat to the guy across the way, too,'' Texas manager Jeff Bannister said. ''Latos has been hot. He has been pitching well.''
David Robertson, who blew a save opportunity on Saturday for this first time this season, struck out the side in the ninth for his seventh save.
Dioner Navarro homered and drove in two runs as Chicago won for the fifth time in six games. Brett Lawrie added two hits and an RBI.
Touted Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara hit a long drive to right in the first inning for his first homer since his major league debut on April 10. The ball cleared the visiting bullpen and landed about five rows into the bleachers.
Navarro tied it in the third with a drive to left field for his first homer of the season.
Chicago then grabbed the lead in the fifth. Melky Cabrera drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third when Lawrie followed with a double to right field. Cabrera scored on a wild pitch and Navarro made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly.
Lawrie singled home a run in the eighth.
Latos joined teammate Chris Sale and crosstown rival Jake Arrieta of the Cubs among the four pitchers in the major leagues at 4-0.
''I'm grateful. I'll take it in stride,'' Latos said. ''I didn't necessarily execute the plan that I wanted to today, but the defense picked me up.''
PITCHER'S BEST FRIEND
The Rangers put runners on first and third with one out in the sixth inning and seemed on the verge of chasing Latos. But he got Ryan Rua to ground back to mound and then started a 1-4-3 inning-ending double on his 106th and last pitch of the game.
Latos pumped his fist as he headed to the dugout.
''It was supposed to be a fastball in, but it was down and away, so I missed the spot,'' he said. ''I was running on fumes there at the end. I was lucky to get a groundball.''
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels was scratched from his scheduled start on Monday because of a strained left groin muscle. The injury is not considered serious and there is no plan to put him on the disabled list. He skipped one start last August because of the same issue.
White Sox: C Alex Avila was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring injury. To take his place on the roster, C Kevan Smith was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. Avila, who is batting .214 in 10 games this season, was injured running the bases in the sixth inning on Saturday.
Rangers: With Hamels injured, LHP Cesar Ramos (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to start the opener of a three-game series against the Yankees on Monday. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (0-2, 6.11 ERA) goes for New York.
White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to start the opener of a three-game series Monday in Toronto. RHP Marcus Stroman (3-0, 4.13 ERA) goes for the Blue Jays.