By MARK DIDTLER | Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Jake Burger had a key hit for the second consecutive day and the Chicago White Sox hung on to a large early lead to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 on Sunday.
Burger, who had a go-ahead, two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning of the White Sox’s 3-2 win on Saturday, had a two-run double during Chicago's four-run first off Ryan Yarbrough (0-2).
“It was huge to get off to a start like that,” Burger said.
Yasmani Grandal drove in two more on a check-swing opposite-field single to right in the first, and then Andrew Vaughn had an RBI double and Luis Robert added a run-scoring single in the second to make it 6-0.
“Frustrating,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We got down early. Yarbs just didn’t have the command he needs to have to go out there and pitch like he’s capable of. Felt like he was falling behind and then having to throw strikes that were catching a lot of the plate.”
The Rays didn't go away entirely, starting with Isaac Paredes hitting a solo homer in the fifth before a four-run sixth pulled Tampa Bay within 6-5.
Yandy Díaz opened the sixth with a single and Ji-Man Choi reached when Grandal was charged with an error for mishandling a throw from shortstop Danny Mendick. Then Harold Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly and Randy Arozarena had an RBI triple before Mike Zunino connected on a two-out, two-run homer.
“They had a couple big swings. The score was 6-5 pretty quick and our bullpen came in and shut it down,” said Vaughn, who had doubles in each of the first two innings, as did Burger.
White Sox starter Lucas Giolito (4-2) gave up five runs, two earned, and eight hits over six innings. Liam Hendriks, the third Chicago reliever, worked the ninth to get his 16th save in 19 chances.
“I believe baseball is so momentum-based. We had it all at the start of the game, and then in my last inning I just didn’t execute a few pitches I needed to maintain it,” Giolito said. “But the rest of the team picked me up big-time, especially the guys coming out of the bullpen.”
Three of Tampa Bay’s four runs in the sixth were unearned. The Rays dropped a season-high eight games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees.
Yarbrough allowed six runs and eight hits over 68 pitches in 1 2/3 innings.
“We basically lost that because of me today,” Yarbrough said. “The fact that we battled back, there’s a lot of fight in this team.”
Chicago, which won for the fourth time in 11 games, got seven hits in 3 2/3 innings off reliever Ralph Garza Jr., who entered in the fourth.
White Sox: RHP Lance Lynn (right knee) is scheduled to make his third rehab start Wednesday with Triple-A Charlotte. It is possible he could rejoin the White Sox after the outing.
Rays: Reliever Andrew Kittredge (back tightness) was reinstated from the 15-day IL and worked a scoreless ninth.
White Sox: Right-hander Michael Kopech (1-2) will go against Los Angeles Dodgers righty Mitch White (1-1) on Tuesday night.
Rays: Lefty Jeffrey Springs (2-2) and St. Louis right-hander Dakota Hudson (4-2) are Tuesday night’s scheduled starters at Tampa Bay.
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