Cueto sparkles, Robert plays hero as White Sox top Royals in extras

  • Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Johnny Cueto throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, May 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo.

    Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Johnny Cueto throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, May 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/16/2022 11:15 PM

With five games against the Royals in a four-day stretch this week, the White Sox needed to bring in a starting pitcher to help carry the heavy load.

Johnny Cueto got the call on Monday, coming up from Class AAA Charlotte after the Sox purchased his contract.

 

It was a good game for Cueto, and the White Sox. After blowing a 3-0 lead, Luis Robert hit a 2-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning, lifting the Sox to a 5-3 win.

Before he took the mound against Kansas City Monday night, White Sox manager Tony La Russa was asked if Cueto was going to stay in the rotation.

"We would be disappointed if he's not," La Russa told reporters. "And we don't expect to be disappointed."

Cueto wasted little time showing he can be an asset for the Sox this season, striking out the side in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium.

The 36-year-old righty wound up throwing 6 scoreless innings in his White Sox debut, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks to go with 7 strikeouts.

"Throughout my career, I've always put a special emphasis on my first start of the season," Cueto said through Sox translator Billy Russo. "I did it today. I was just excited. I was facing a young team with a lot of good talent."

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When Cueto left the game after throwing 81 pitches -- 55 for strikes -- the Sox were in good shape with a 3-0 lead.

The momentum shifted in the eighth inning when the Royals scored 3 runs off reliever Kendall Graveman to tie the game.

Robert was 2-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. His clutch home run in the 10th inning was his fifth of the season.

"Sometimes in the first at-bats, you are more relaxed," Robert said. "But at the end of the game, you have tough at-bats, try to focus more."

Andrew Vaughn's sacrifice fly off K.C. starter Brad Keller gave the White Sox the lead in the third inning and Yasmani Grandal made hit 3-0 with a 2-run homer in the fourth.

For Grandal, it was his second home run of the season and first since April 9.

To clear a roster spot for Cueto, the Sox optioned infielder Danny Mendick to Charlotte.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A two-time all star, Cueto signed a minor-league contract with the White Sox on April 8. He was 0-1 with a 5.17 ERA in 4 starts at Triple-A.

Last year, Cueto made 22 starts for the Giants and was 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA.

"He pitches with style, La Russa said. "He is a pitcher. We've gone against him and when you look for this and he gives you that, or vice versa. We expect him to be helpful."

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