CLEVELAND — Andre Rienzo showed some fortitude and a high tolerance for pain over seven innings on Tuesday night.
Unfortunately his bullpen provided little else.
The rookie starting pitcher earned a no-decision despite a strong start in a game that featured the first two Brazilian-born major leaguers as the Indians rallied for a 7-4 win over the White Sox at Progressive Field.
Even though he became the first White Sox pitcher to allow no earned runs over seven innings in his debut since Jack McDowell in 1987, Rienzo couldn’t keep the South Siders from their eighth loss in nine games.
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The White Sox dropped to 24 games below .500 for the first time since September 1989.
The first player from Brazil to play in the majors last season, Yan Gomes, started at catcher for Cleveland in a game that was aired by ESPN Brazil.
“I hope the Brazil is proud of me, I’m proud of Gomes,” said Rienzo, who pitched for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic. “I hope if I have a chance next time to do better and help the team. I just want to open doors for guys coming. The talent is there. But I try to open doors. It’s good.”
The Indians’ rally had nothing to do with any shortcomings by Rienzo.
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He might have battled a case of nerves but the Sao Paulo, Brazil, native faced only one batter over the minimum through four innings. He struck out the side in the fourth inning as he faced Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera.
Rienzo ran into trouble in the next inning when he walked three batters, including countryman Gomes with the bases loaded, and was hurt by an Alexei Ramirez error. Rienzo then appeared to be physically hurt when Michael Bourn stepped on his right heel as the pitcher tried to cover first base on a potential inning-ending double play. Rienzo went down in a hurry, and two runs scored on the play to tie the game at 3.
But the right-hander bounced back and stranded the bases loaded.
“It was great to be here and a great experience,” Rienzo said. “It was awesome. ... (The fifth inning was) a bad moment for me. The people start to cheer. Quiet, quiet. I’m glad to be out there and help the team.”
Rienzo retired seven of the last eight he faced as the White Sox regained a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning on Dayan Viciedo’s RBI single.
But the combination of Donnie Veal and Matt Lindstrom couldn’t hold the lead as Cleveland scored four runs in the eighth inning.
Rienzo allowed three runs (none earned) and five hits with three walks and six strikeouts over seven innings.
“The kid was good,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “For all the excitement he had of having his first start, he was great. The one inning there was a little blip there, a couple of walks and he got spiked on the play at first. Him coming back and the next inning, I thought that was big. He was good, though, just with the energy and keeping his composure and coming back that inning. I think taking him out was more of a long layoff, a long inning, they had a couple of pitching changes. He was great. There was a lot of good stuff.”