- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- The White Sox cruised to a 9-3 victory Friday in the opener of a three-game interleague series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
How it happened: Hitless through three innings, the White Sox opened the fourth inning with nine hits in a span of 10 batters, a run that included a grand slam from Alexei Ramirez. Jose Abreu had a home run in the seventh inning, his 13th of the season, while collecting three hits. Alejandro De Aza had three hits as well. White Sox starter Andre Rienzo improved to 3-0, giving up three runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. Former White Sox pitcher Brandon McCarthy took the loss for the Diamondbacks, giving up seven runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings. Tyler Flowers hit a home run in the eighth inning, his second.
What it means: Abreu’s left ankle was too sore to allow him to play first base, but not enough of an issue to cause him problems at the plate. He had singles in the fourth and fifth innings, before crushing a 442-foot home run to center field in the seventh. Before the game, Abreu said that a right-ankle injury would have been better than one to his left, which affects him when he strides, but he made the best of it anyway.
Outside the box: In addition to his big home run, Ramirez also had two errors at shortstop. Going back to Thursday, he has three errors in two games. His error Thursday, and his first Friday, came on low throws in the dirt. His second error Friday, though, came when a popup on the infield hopped out of his glove. Ramirez had been playing solid defense this season. He had just one error before his miscue Thursday.
Off beat: Ramirez never had a hit on a 3-0 count in his career until connecting on his grand slam Friday. There were 67 previous times in his career when a 3-0 count didn’t lead to the first strike. On those occasions, he was 0-for-2 with 65 walks.
Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Jose Quintana (1-2, 3.56 ERA) to the mound Saturday against Arizona in the middle game of the three-game series. The Diamondbacks will counter with left-hander Wade Miley (2-3, 5.14) in the 6:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.