Dylan Cease walked Marcus Semien on Friday-evening with two outs in the second inning.
That was the last batter of Texas Rangers to reach base against the Chicago White Sox-starter, who retired the last 13 he faced.
Quitting one run on two hits in six innings, Eloy Jiménez hit a leading homerun in the fourth and the Sox defeated the Rangers 2-1 for 25,470 at Globe Life Field.
Strikes out five strikeouts and walked three en route to his 13th consecutive start by conceding one or no earned runs, breaking a tie with Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets (2021) for longest run since stat became official in 1913 (excluding openers).
“It’s definitely the best I’ve ever thrown in my life,” Cease said of the piece. “I’m happy with it. I’m glad to give us a chance. Hope it stays that way.”
Stop improved to 12-4 while lowering his ERA to 1.98. He and relievers Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman and Liam Hendriks formed a three-hitter, as the Sox tied the Cleveland Guardians for second place in the American League Central. Both teams are two games behind the Minnesota Twins.
“That’s why we come every day,” Cease said of the win. “So definitely a big one.”
The one run Cease gave up came in the first and was set up by walking consecutive walks with two outs to Jonah Heim and Nathaniel Lowe. Heim scored on a single by Adolis García.
In the second, Cease gave up an one-out single to Bubba Thompson and the two-out walked to Semien. And then nothing else during the rest of his 91-pitch outing.
“I wasn’t very sharp in the beginning and then I was able to make an adjustment around second or third, and after that it was pretty solid,” Cease said. “It’s just a mechanical way to get off the hill better.”
The Sox tied the game in the third.
Yasmani Grandal led off the inning with a walk. Semien, the Rangers second baseman, was unable to suppress Josh Harrison’s grounder and the ball bounced into the shallow midfield. Grandal went from first to third on the line. Seby Zavala brought Grandal home with a sacrifice fly to the middle.
The Sox continued into the next inning on Jiménez’ sixth homer of the season.
“When I hit him, I said I hit him well,” Jiménez said of the explosion from 437 feet to center left. “But this margin is huge, so I immediately started running.”
Stop, meanwhile, found a groove.
“He had (45) pitches after two innings and he eventually threw through the sixth,” said Sox manager Tony La Russa. “Young man continues to impress (and) amaze.
“He works so hard and he just calmed down, and that was another side that we haven’t seen yet where he can get so deep into a game when he started out with so many problems.”
Stop with defensive assistance in the fifth when rightfielder Andrew Vaughn made a nice running catch on Corey Seager’s liner to center right. Cease struckout two of the last three batters in the sixth.
“Most importantly, I wasn’t throwing strikes (early in the game), so they retired,” Cease said. “Once I started throwing punches, they swung early and I was able to get myself back in.”
The Rangers threatened in the eighth to load the bases with two outs. Graveman gave Leody Taveras a grounder to first baseman José Abreu to escape the problems.
Hendriks retired two of the three batters he faced in the ninth for his 22nd save of the season and 100th in his career.
“Obviously it’s a milestone, especially with closers because you tend to fluctuate a bit with relievers,” Hendriks said. “To be as consistent as the last three years, four years – it’s not a longer streak – but just being able to get the opportunities I’ve been able to get at the back end and take advantage of what I’ve got and go out and earning the next one, that’s something I’m proud of.”