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Flexen and DeJong help White Sox avoid sweep against Rays

Paul Dejong Chicago White Sox Paul Dejong - The Canadian Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Chris Flexen pitched six sharp innings, Paul DeJong homered again and the Chicago White Sox avoided their seventh sweep this season by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 on Wednesday night.

The AL-worst White Sox (9-28) won the season series 4-2. Chicago swept a three-game home set with the Rays from April 26-28.

“Clean baseball all the way around.” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “Opportunistic hitting. Really good pitching.”

Flexen (2-3) struck out eight while surrendering one run and three hits. The right-hander tossed five scoreless innings in a 9-4 win over Tampa Bay on April 26.

“He has kind of had our number,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s kept us off balance quite a bit. Mixed very well against us and kind of given us fits.”

Flexen walked one.

“Just trying to be consistent,” Flexen said. “Every time I go out there I’m always trying to put us in position to win. My game is command the zone, try to minimize the walks.”

Michael Kopech, the third Chicago reliever, handled the ninth for his third save in four chances, finishing a four-hitter.

DeJong hit a two-run drive off Aaron Civale (2-3) in the fifth, lifting the White Sox to a 2-1 lead. He also went deep during Tuesday night's 5-1 loss.

Civale was pulled in the fifth inning for the fourth consecutive start. The right-hander was charged with two runs and five hits.

"It’s probably more coincidence than anything," Cash said.

He has pitched five innings or less in 13 of 18 starts since being acquired from Cleveland at last year’s trade deadline.

Civale was replaced by Kevin Kelly with two on and two outs. Andrew Vaughn then reached on an infield single, loading the bases, but Eloy Jiménez struck out looking.

Sixth-inning RBI singles by Bryan Ramos and Tommy Pham lifted Chicago to a 4-1 lead.

Ramos is hitting .357 (5 for 14) in five games since being called up from Double-A Birmingham on Saturday. His double in the two-run fifth hit off the wall in left and just missed becoming his first big league homer.

“Two more pushups, and that's a homer,” Ramos said with a smile.

Flexen retired his first nine batters before Yandy Díaz opened the fourth with a single and scored on Isaac Paredes’ double. All three Tampa Bay hits off of him came in the inning.


White Sox: Grifol said OF Luis Robert Jr. (right hip flexor strain) has bounced back from a setback earlier this week. ... INF Danny Mendick (lower back) is nearing a minor league rehab assignment.

Rays: RHP Ryan Pepiot (bruised lower left leg) was placed on the 15-day IL. Cash and Pepiot both believe it is a short-term injury. ... Closer Pete Fairbanks (nerve-related hand issues) is set to have his second outing Thursday night with Triple-A Durham.


White Sox: RHP Erick Fedde (2-0, 3.46 ERA) and Cleveland RHP Ben Lively (1-1, 2.08 ERA) are Thursday night’s starters.

Rays: RHP Taj Bradley (right pectoral strain) will make his season debut Friday night against the New York Yankees.