Rivera, Rojas help Diamondbacks ease past White Sox 7-2

CHICAGO (AP) — Josh Rojas hit a three-run double and Emmanual Rivera had a two-run homer in Arizona’s six-run second inning, and the Diamondbacks beat the Chicago White Sox 7-2 on Friday night.

Chicago product Alek Thomas hit a deep sacrifice fly to score Christian Walker to start Arizona’s frenetic inning. White Sox starter Johnny Cueto (6-6) walked Geraldo Perdomo to load the bases, and Rojas followed with his 20th double of the year. Four pitches later, Rivera hit his 11th home run of the season to make it 6-0.

“I think it’s just as simple as something (Cueto) has been outstanding at, getting the third out,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said.

Cueto’s woes continued into the third when Daulton Varsho homered to right on a full count, just clearing the fence to give Arizona a 7-0 lead. The 36-year-old struggled in a five-inning outing, giving up all seven runs and five hits. He struck out four and walked two.

“It shows you the fine line that he almost always gets that (third) guy out and limits (scoring),” La Russa said. “But not today.”

Tommy Henry (3-2) allowed one run and four hits through his five innings. He walked three and struck out three.

“I owe people some gifts or something,” Henry said. “Alek (Thomas) was running all over the place doing what he does best. Incredible plays and he makes it look like it’s just another day’s work. Then, (Daulton) Varsho, bringing back homers and doing it super casually.”

Varsho made a leaping grab at the right-field fence to deny Romy Gonzalez a home run in the fifth.

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo had nothing but praise for his defense. He specifically singled out Thomas and Varsho for their momentum-killing catches.

“Reminds me of a bunch of labrador retrievers chasing frisbees at the beach,” Lovullo said. “Every time the frisbee goes up, I think somebody’s going to catch it. They’re just gifted.”

Elvis Andrus, making his White Sox debut, got Chicago on the scoreboard in the fourth with a grounder that scored Eloy Jiménez. AJ Pollock hit his eighth homer of the season in the ninth to close the scoring.

Arizona won for the second time in six games.

HOMECOMING HEROICS

Thomas also made two diving catches in center field to deny Chicago base hits, including one from longtime friend Adam Engel.

“Me and Adam Engel used to hang out in the outfield all the time and just talk,” Thomas recalled. “So it was funny to rob him of a base hit.”

Thomas spent plenty of time around the White Sox while growing up because his father, Allen, served as the team’s strength and conditioning coach for 18 years.

Thomas’ return to Chicago’s South Side, where he once starred for Mount Carmel High School before being drafted in 2018, drew plenty of friends and family members.

“I’m blessed to be in this situation,” Thomas said. “I’m just having fun with it and my family, my girlfriend and her family, have been supporting me all this way.”

BOO THE SOX

Chicago (63-63) dropped back to .500 on the year after entering the day trailing AL Central leaders Cleveland by four games.

La Russa had no qualms about being booed off the field by the crowd of 33,054 after the final out.

“They came to see us win a ballgame and we got beat,” La Russa said. “Most of the game it was lopsided, right? They have every right to be upset — at the team, management, whatever, they’ve got every right to do it. … (There is) amazing fan support here, and I’ve got plenty of experience. But there ain’t no free lunch. It’s a two-way relationship. They support you and you’ve got to give back. So we’ve got to do more about giving back.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: RHP Reyes Moronta was activated on Thursday after being claimed off waivers on Sunday. RHP Chris Devenski was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot. Lovullo said “we’d love to have (Devenski) back” should he clear waivers. … Lovullo said he gave LF Jake McCarthy a rest day.

White Sox: CF Luis Robert (wrist) remains active, but La Russa said he is unlikely to play this weekend. Robert missed seven games near the tail end of July due to a left wrist sprain, which La Russa said gets aggravated when Robert “takes a funky swing.” … INF Yoán Moncada (hamstring tightness) is day-to-day after exiting Thursday’s loss at Baltimore. La Russa said he is “sore” and that he could play Saturday or Sunday. … SS Tim Anderson (torn left hand ligament) is on schedule to return in September, according to La Russa. He added that Anderson has stayed in shape and “soon, he’ll start swinging.

UP NEXT

RHP Merrill Kelly (10-5, 2.87 ERA) gets the call for Arizona and Davis Martin (2-3, 4.25 ERA) is set to start for Chicago.

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