Keuchel goes six solid innings, White Sox bullpen preserves sixth straight win

White Sox starters own a 2.50 ERA in their last 13 games. Keuchel, who entered with a 8.40 ERA, wanted in on the action.

Manager Tony La Russa, knowing his bullpen was thin Sunday, wanted to see that, too.

“Come on Keuchel!” La Russa said before the Sox completed a series sweep of the slumping Red Sox with a 3-2 victory, their sixth straight.

With Liam Hendriks and Kendall Graveman unavailable, La Russa got scoreless innings from Ryan Burr, Matt Foster and Jose Ruiz in the seventh, eighth and ninth to preserve the win. Ruiz allowed a leadoff double off the Green Monster in left to J.D. Martinez but retired Christian Vazquez and Alex Verdugo.

La Russa then went to rookie left-hander Bennett Sousa with Jackie Bradley Jr. due up. Right-handed hitting Kevin Plawecki pinch hit and flew out as Sousa recorded his first career save.

Faith in the 34-year-old veteran has been waning, but Keuchel made his longest start of the season with six innings and allowed two runs — both in his final inning as Red Sox hard contact was ramping up — on eight hits and a walk. Seven of the hits were singles. Keuchel struck out five.

The Sox gave Keuchel a 3-0 lead in the third. Leury Garcia, leading off in Tim Anderson’s customary spot — Anderson was rested by La Russa with Danny Mendick playing shortstop — scored Reese McGuire with an infield single, and Jose Abreu doubled in two runs.

Keuchel needed an inning in an 11:30 a.m. (ET) start to get his footing. He walked leadoff man Kike Hernandez and allowed a one-out single to Rafael Devers but retired Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez to finish a 26-pitch inning. His previous longest starts were five innings. His 92 pitches were a season high.

The last time Keuchel wore pink cleats on Mother’s Day was in 2018 when he pitched seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts for the Astros against the Rangers.

He seemed unfazed sitting through a lengthy top half of the fourth that included an 18-minute delay after plate umpire Ron Kulpa left the game when he was hit in the mask by a foul tip. Marty Foster, needing that time to change gear and get ready, moved from first base to the plate.

La Russa told Anderson he would have Sunday’s game off before Saturday’s 3-1 victory.

“Look, he’s playing at a high level, he’s hot so he’s on the bases all the time,” La Russa said. “So we were talking with the morning game, sometimes you just don’t play some guys. Tim is just resting. He feels good, he’s playing at a very high level.”

Before the game, the Red Sox’ scheduled starter Michael Wacha landed on the injured list with left intercostal irritation, retroactive to May 5. Former Sox right-hander Tyler Danish was recalled from Triple-A Worcester and pitched a scoreless inning in relief. Starter Tanner Rouck went 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs.

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