White Sox drop opener to Rangers

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White Sox drop opener to Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)Colby Lewis struck out nine in his first opening day start, Ian Kinsler homered and the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers began the season with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

Kinsler, unable to reach a deal on a new long-term contract before his self-imposed deadline of opening day to end negotiations, had a leadoff double in the first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton. Kinsler hit a solo homer in the third.

The loss spoiled the managerial debut of Robin Ventura, who before the game had his first meeting with Nolan Ryan since charging the mound 19 seasons earlier against the Hall of Fame pitcher. Ryan is now president, CEO and part-owner of the Rangers.

It was a picture-perfect day75 degrees under blue skiesfor the Rangers opener, which came just more than five months after they twice came within one strike of a World Series championship before losing in seven games to St. Louis.

Lewis (1-0) walked only one over six innings, throwing 70 of 100 pitches for strikes. The only other Rangers pitcher with nine strikeouts in a season opener was Ryan in 1991.

Alexi Ogando, an All-Star and 13-game winner as a starter last season, is back in the bullpen and struck out all three batters in faced in the seventh after Texas regained the lead and Lewis left.

New Rangers closer Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for the save.

Hamilton, the slugger and former AL MVP who can become a free agent after this season, had a leadoff single in the sixth off White Sox starter John Danks (0-1). Hamilton scored to break a 2-all tie on a single by Michael Young, the longest-tenured Ranger starting his 12th season.

Adam Dunn homered leading off the sixth for the White Sox, tying a major league record with his eighth opening day home run when he pulled a ball into the second deck of seats in right field. Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. are the only other major leaguers who have eight homers in openers.

Dunn batted third in the White Sox lineup. Last year, the highly paid slugger hit .159 with only 11 homers while striking out 177 times in 415 at-bats.

Alex Rios was hit by a pitch with two outs in the White Sox sixth, and the speedster was on the run when Alexi Ramirez singled to left. Rios scored to tie it at 2.

Danks first opening day start came in the stadium he visited often growing up in Austin about three hours away and where he always expected to pitch an opener after being drafted ninth overall by Texas in 2003. But he was traded to Chicago in December 2006, and got a new 65 million, five-year contract from the White Sox this winter.

Ventura, a surprise hire by the White Sox after Ozzie Guillen went to be Miamis manager, hadnt spoken to Ryan since charging the mound against him on a hot August night at old Arlington Stadium in 1993. Ryan, 20 years older and in the last year of his playing career, got Ventura in a headlock and landed several blows. Ventura was then a 26-year-old third baseman for the White Sox.

Before Fridays opener, Ryan went to the White Sox clubhouse and visited with Ventura.

Notes

It is the sixth time Dunn has homered in the first game of the season. He twice had two homers on opening day, in 2005 and 2007 while with Cincinnati. The 13 strikeouts by Texas pitchers were a record for opening day. The previous record was 11, in that 1991 opener when Ryan had nine.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Report: White Sox will retain Robin Ventura as manager if he wants to return in 2017

Report: White Sox will retain Robin Ventura as manager if he wants to return in 2017

Robin Ventura has a job waiting for him next season if he wants it.

According to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale, the White Sox have privately offered Ventura the managerial position in 2017.

Although nothing has been made official, general manager Rick Hahn reiterated earlier this month that he doesn’t plan to discuss the status of Ventura or any of his coaches until after the season.

Ventura is in his final year of a five-year contract, which he signed in 2012.

The White Sox (76-81) have to win all five of their remaining games to avoid their fourth straight losing season under Ventura.

His only winning season came in his first year on the job, going 85-77, but the White Sox failed to reach the postseason.

Ventura is 373-432 as White Sox manager.

Chris Sale ties career-high 17 wins as White Sox power past Rays

Chris Sale ties career-high 17 wins as White Sox power past Rays

Chris Sale had no trouble earning his 17th win of the season, tying his career-high set in 2012, in what may have been his final start of the season.

Sale pitched seven innings and recorded seven strikeouts as the White Sox offense powered past the Tampa Bay Rays 13-6 on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

Sale also allowed three earned runs on eight hits and no walks. It was Sale’s 16th career game with at least seven strikeouts and no walks — a franchise record by a wide margin —according to CSN’s stat guru Chris Kamka.

"I feel as good now as I ever have on a baseball field, physically," Sale said. "I think this year was the best overall in terms of feeling strong at the end and still having more in the tank."

"I’ve said it a lot of times before and I can’t stress to you enough, how awesome the people I have in my corner helping me get back out there every fifth day. That starts in the offseason. It trickles into spring training. I thought we had a really good spring training mindset in getting just enough to where you feel good and this is what we wanted.

"We wanted me to feel good at the end of the year. I think we accomplished that goal. Unfortunately it’s for nothing, but it still is what it is."

Sale said his goal this season was to eat up innings and go deeper into games to help out his bullpen. He's done just that, having worked 221.2 innings this season, extending his career high.

"We went into this year knowing what we were going to get ourselves into," Sale said. "Just trying to do something better for the long haul and looking back, I got burned a couple of times. Just like anybody, though. It’s not to say I wouldn’t have done the same thing in previous years. So, you just make some adjustments and go forward."

With five games left, Ventura hasn’t decided if Sale will make one more start before the 2016 campaign ends — or even in a White Sox uniform. 

Sale reiterated that he'd like to be back in Chicago next season, but it's not up to him.

"I can’t say this from experience, but I don’t think there’s probably a better feeling than winning with the team that drafted you and staying with the team that drafted you," Sale said. "Talking with Paulie (Konerko) a little bit in his final year, he definitely had some very good things to say about staying with one team and being here from start to finish. All of that going into it, yeah. But this is baseball, this is sports. You can’t always choose and pick what you want to do or where you want to be."

The White Sox extended their winning streak to four games. The last time they won four consecutive games was July 23-26 against the Cleveland Indians and Cubs. The White Sox had winning streaks of at least four games three times in their first 33 games of the season.

Eaton went 2-for-5 with two runs, an RBI and a double in his return to the lineup after missing three games with an injury.

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Tim Anderson got things started with an RBI single in the first and RBI double in the second. Anderson also added a solo homer in the eighth inning.

Melky Cabrera hit his 14th homer of the season in the first, bumping his RBI total to 82 on the year, five shy from his career-high.

In the third, Leury Garcia smacked his first homer of the year, a three-run shot to left-center field to extend the White Sox lead to 8-2. Two more runs were scored in the fifth on a fielder’s choice and an error. Jason Coats, pinch-hitting for Justin Morneau, and Todd Frazier each had an RBI single in the eighth.

Sale issued a two-run double to former White Sox infielder Alexei Ramirez in the second and a homer to Curt Casali in the fourth.