Latos moves to 4-0 as White Sox sweep Rangers

Latos moves to 4-0 as White Sox sweep Rangers

CHICAGO -- Mat Latos won his fourth straight start as a member of the White Sox, as the South Siders completed a three-game sweep of the Rangers with a 4-1 victory Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. This White Sox sweep marked their first one at home of the Rangers since July 3-5, 2012, and ran their record to 5-2 on the first homestand.

"Without the days off and things like that, this is a tough series," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You get L.A. that comes in here, they have a lot of offense. I think our pitchers did a tremendous job of being able to go through two high-powered offenses and give us a chance to win some games. We break even with the Angels and get this one with the Rangers -- our guys are pitching at a high level right now."

Latos wasn't quite as dominant as his first three starts, when he gave up just six hits over 18 1/3 innings. The Rangers had at least one man on base in every inning but the second, but they only scored off Latos via a Nomar Mazara home run in the first inning. The right-hander struck out two and walked two over 109 pitches, giving way to Zach Duke after six innings.

"Any time you look at a series like this, if you don't put the big runs across the plate or have multiple runs across in an inning, that's what you look at," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It's tough to lose three here, but they've got some good starting pitching and they played some good defense."

"My plan is to go out there and attack and throw strikes and put zeros up on the board," Latos said. "Every fifth day I go out there, I want to command the zone down, I want to mix my slider for strikes, I want to throw the curveball over for strikes, throw the split in there when I need to and put zeros on the board."

Derek Holland turned in a quality start for the Rangers, but the White Sox were able to piece together enough offense to equal their best start since 2006 with a 13-6 record. Dioner Navarro launched his first homer with the White Sox, and a 1-1 tie was broken in the fifth when a wild pitch scored Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie scored on a Navarro sacrifice fly.

Navarro's solo jack

The White Sox are the first team in the American League to reach 13 wins.

Lawrie stokes the fire: Lawrie continues to produce in key situations for the White Sox. He robbed Ryan Rua of a hit with one out in the second, scored a run in the fifth and delivered a clutch two-out single in the eighth to bring home an insurance run.

Lawrie's nice play

Rua guns down Frazier: Todd Frazier, batting with two outs in the fourth, ripped a line drive into the left-field corner. Rua played the ball well out of the corner and made a strong throw to second. Frazier tried to slide around the tag of second baseman Rougned Odor, reaching out with his left arm for the base. He was initially safe but became disengaged with the bag and was called out.

Rua throws out Frazier

Pitching in: Latos' outing meant the White Sox three starting pitchers in this series combined for 19 2/3 innings while allowing three earned runs on 13 hits. The starts by Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and Latos all were of the quality variety against an offense that entered the series leading the league in runs scored, limiting the Rangers to 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position, and a 1-for-10 showing Sunday in that area.

Twin twin-killings: The Rangers had runners at the corners with one out in both the fifth and sixth innings. Both times Latos got an inning-ending double play. Prince Fielder ended the fifth with a double-play grounder at second baseman Lawrie. Latos started the double play in the sixth by fielding Rua's grounder back to the mound. More >

Latos gets out of jam

"The ball hit by Rua, he made a nice play on," Banister said.

"I know it definitely takes us into Toronto on a high note being that Toronto does have a good lineup. So keep winning ballgames and it definitely helps going into tougher series." -- Latos

"It was too cold." -- Navarro, on his slow start at the plate

Rua had two assists in left field for the Rangers. The only Rangers outfielder to have three in a game was Cecil Espy in 1988. He was also playing left field.

Rangers: Texas opens up a three-game series with the Yankees on Monday at Globe Life Park in Arlington at 7:05 p.m. CT. The Rangers took five of seven from the Yankees last season. Cesar Ramos will make his first start of the season for the Rangers.

White Sox: Miguel Gonzalez will make his first start with the White Sox in the opener of their three-game set in Toronto on Monday at 6:07 p.m. CT..

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.