Chicago White Sox snap 7-game skid with 9-4 win against Tampa Bay Rays behind Chris Flexen’s strong start

Chris Flexen made his first relief appearance of the season one week ago, tossing four scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Flexen made his way back to the rotation Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays and was even more impressive while helping the Chicago White Sox snap a season-high seven-game losing streak.

Flexen allowed two hits in five-plus scoreless innings in a 9-4 victory in front of 10,323 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“I was excited to be able to take the rock tonight,” Flexen said. “Just wanted to go out and compete, go out and win a ballgame.”

Martin Maldonado hit a three-run home run and Eloy Jiménez added a two-run shot for the Sox, who won the first game of a series for the first time this season. The nine runs were a season high.

“Everybody has put in the work,” Maldonado said. “It’s always good when you see results on the field.”

Even with the victory, the Sox still are off to their worst 26-game start in franchise history at 4-22.

Flexen made three starts before shifting to the bullpen on April 19 at Citizens Bank Park. He allowed one hit and struck out four that night, then made another relief outing Monday at Minnesota, allowing one run on one hit in 2⅓ innings.

The right-hander made the most of Friday’s opportunity, allowing just a leadoff double in the first and two-out single in the fourth. He struck out two and walked three.

White Sox players celebrate their 9-4 victory against the Rays on April 26, 2024, at Guaranteed Rate Field. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty)

“We skipped him a start, right?” manager Pedro Grifol said. “And he’s a competitor and he didn’t really care for it. I applaud that. You shouldn’t be happy when you get told, ‘You’re not going to start.’ What he did was he earned this start. He went out there and had two relief appearances that were solid.

“He brings a lot of value to this club because he can give us a start like that and he can also come in in relief like he did.”

Grifol noted Flexen’s game plan Friday.

“He pounded the strike zone, he had everything going: His curveball was good, his cutter was good, he threw some really good changeups, pitched up in the zone, down in the zone,” Grifol said. “He really executed all his pitches and he did a really nice job.”

Flexen has a 0.79 ERA with six strikeouts in his three most recent appearances. He exited after walking the first two batters of the sixth. Dominic Leone got a strikeout, popout and groundout to escape with the Sox still leading 2-0.

Grifol said Leone did “an incredible job.”

“That was probably the inning of the game right there,” Grifol said.

Maldonado’s three-run home run came in the sixth. It was the first homer of the season for Maldonado, who had been hitless in his previous 28 at-bats.

Jiménez’s two-run blast an inning later — his third homer in his last six games — gave the Sox a 7-2 lead.

The Sox matched a season high with 12 hits (third time). Five players had two hits, including Tommy Pham in his Sox debut and Maldonado.

“It’s always good when you can help the team,” Maldonado said. “The way we’ve been swinging the bat, coming through like that felt good.”

Source link

Leave a Comment