By ALAN SAUNDERS, Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Trevor Williams had a better outing against the struggling Chicago White Sox this time while facing them for the second straight start.
Williams scattered six hits and struck out six without a walk in seven innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the White Sox 7-0 Tuesday night.
Four days earlier, he gave up four runs and seven hits — including two home runs — in five innings before the Pirates rallied for a 6-5 win in Chicago. Williams said he didn’t make any drastic changes to his approach, and credited the pitcher-friendly PNC Park as an aid.
“I thought we did our homework well last time,” he said. “I thought it was just two pitches that left the yard. If we were playing at their yard today, some would have left the yard, as well.”
Chicago has lost eight of nine and 12 of 14, dropping to a major league-worst 10-28. The White Sox have matched the poorest 38-game start in team history.
Williams (5-2) was also helped by a Pirates offense that continued to roll. Pittsburgh scored four runs in the first inning and chased Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez in the third.
Staked with an advantage, Williams pitched through the seventh inning for the first time this season.
“It was a really strong effort and a really good back-on-track outing for him,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Kyle Crick and Richard Rodriguez completed the seven-hitter for Pittsburgh’s major league league-best seventh shutout.
The tables turned from the previous game on the other side of the ball, as well. The Pirates jumped all over Lopez (0-3) after he had held them to two runs in 7 1/3 innings the last time out.
Pittsburgh built its 4-0 first-inning lead on Adam Frazier’s homer, Josh Bell’s two-run double and Colin Moran’s RBI double. Sean Rodriguez and Bell also had run-scoring hits in the second.
“Last time through, he was throwing a lot of off-speed early,” Bell said of Lopez. “I feel like, for the most part, we were anticipating slower, earlier and it kind of just worked out for us.”
Bell went 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs. Gregory Polanco, who also had two hits, added an RBI double in the sixth.
Lopez allowed six runs and seven hits while walking two and hitting one in his shortest outing of the year.
“I think he didn’t really feel comfortable in the beginning,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Today was one of those days where he wasn’t able to rebound and refocus and get back into a particular zone.”
The Pirates are now 9-2 in interleague play, including 3-0 against Chicago, while the White Sox are 1-7.
White Sox: 2B Yoan Moncada (left hamstring tightness) was activated from the disabled list and went 1 for 4. He had been out since May 4.
Pirates: CF Starling Marte left the game at the end of the first inning with discomfort in his right side. Marte doubled and scored in the bottom of the first. He was replaced by Rodriguez. … C Francisco Cervelli left the game at the end of the third inning with right forearm discomfort. He was hit by a 93 mph fastball in the bottom of the inning by Lopez. Cervelli was replaced by Elias Diaz.
White Sox: LHP Hector Santiago (0-1, 5.60 ERA) will make a spot start on Wednesday in the series finale. Santiago has made two starts this season. He’ll be replacing RHP Carson Fulmer, whose scheduled start was pushed back to Saturday.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-3, 4.08 ERA) is expected to start on Wednesday. He left his previous start on May 11 after just three innings with a laceration on the middle finger of his right hand.
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By ALAN SAUNDERS, Associated Press