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Sunday, August 4, 2013
Rienzo continues to be hurt by walks

By Chuck Pleiness, Special to ESPNChicago.com
Special to ESPNChicago.com

DETROIT -- As good as rookie starting pitcher Andre Rienzo was in his debut for the Chicago White Sox, he was just as impressive in his second outing.

But what cost him in his initial outing did so again Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers … walks.

Rienzo walked the first two batters in the top of the seventh and it eventually led to two runs for the Tigers.

Andre Rienzo
Rookie Andre Rienzo has impressed in his first two major league outings, but both times he struggled with walks.
"He was sharp, he was pitching well. He just had that little blip of walking two guys," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said after the game. "It’s just trouble in a hurry once you do that."

Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta drew the back-to-back walks to begin the bottom of the seventh inning for the Tigers, who were trailing 1-0 at the time. Alex Avila doubled home Martinez and Ramon Santiago hit a sacrifice fly to plate Peralta.

“It hurt me. It hurt the team. It’s pretty much my fault,” Rienzo said. “Next time, I’ll try and be better. No six innings good and then fall off in the seventh. I didn’t help the team, so that’s bad.

“[My off-speed pitches were] working before the seventh inning,” Rienzo continued. “In the seventh inning, it was so-so, but before that it worked well for me.”

Rienzo, 25, went seven innings in his first major league start and allowed five hits and no earned runs. He fanned six.

But a leadoff walk in the fifth inning to Cleveland’s Michael Brantley started a three-run inning that tied the game for the Indians. All runs were unearned due to a fielding error by Alexei Ramirez.

“For Andre, he’ll learn from that,” Ventura said. “You have to realize you can’t put guys on, especially with this kind of a lineup.”

Ventura removed Rienzo immediately after walking his second straight batter.

“I need to do more work in the week so that kind of mistake doesn’t happen in the next one,” Rienzo said. “It’s not about me; it’s about the team. I helped the team through six innings, and in the seventh I fell off. Next time, I hope I can help more.”

The White Sox eventually lost Sunday to the Tigers, 3-2 in 12 innings. It was their 10th straight loss.

“I thought he pitched well, but with the way it’s going, two walks are going to hurt you,” Ventura said.

Rienzo, who is Chicago's top pitching prospect, got his shot with the White Sox when Jake Peavy was dealt.

In his debut, he became the first White Sox pitcher to throw seven innings without allowing an earned run since Jack McDowell did so against the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 15, 1987.