“He was Picasso, just painted it beautifully,” manager Tony La Russa said. “Shut out that club for seven innings.”
Keuchel seemed almost back in his 2015 Cy Young form as he pitched quickly and nipped corners.
“It just felt really natural, really consistent in terms of my mechanics and the ball coming out of my hand,” the left-hander said. “I’d like to end the first half (of the season) with a real consistent run.
“I targeted June for myself for really turning the gas on, so we’ll take what we’ve had for the last few outings,” he said.
Aaron Bummer pitched a scoreless eighth and Liam Hendriks worked around two singles in the ninth for his 18th save.
The White Sox and Rays entered with the two lowest team ERAs in the AL, but Tampa Bay’s rotation took a hit after an MRI showed ace Tyler Glasnow had a partial tear in an elbow ligament and a flexor strain. The right-hander said he won’t have surgery for now, and instead will try to strengthen the area.
Mendick played second base in place of rookie Nick Madrigal, who underwent season-ending surgery earlier in the day to repair tears in his right hamstring.
Rays rookie Shane McClanahan (2-2) allowed two earned runs on seven hits in five innings. Not bad, but no match for Keuchel, Rays manager Kevin Cash said after his team was shut out for the third time this season.
“This team has been on a great roll,” Cash said. “It speaks to what Dallas Keuchel and their relievers did.”
“We’ve got some guys who can handle left-handing pitching, but we’ve got to do something about that,” he said.
Mendick grounded a sharp single with two outs in the fourth to drive in Andrew Vaughn from second. Leury Garcia scored from first when left fielder Randy Arozarena’s throw skipped under catcher Francisco Mejía.
Engel led off the fifth with his third homer in seven games since coming off the injured list to make it 3-0.
With Glasnow out, Cash plans to insert veteran righty Michael Wacha into Tampa Bay’s rotation.
Rays: Cash confirmed there was no timeline for Glasnow’s return and that the team would seek additional opinions. Tampa Bay put the righty on the 10-day injured list and recalled infielder Mike Brosseau from Triple-A Durham.
White Sox: RHP Michael Kopech, who hasn’t pitched since May 26 (strained left hamstring) threw off the mound on Tuesday. … 3B Yoán Moncada sat out a second game (bad cold symptoms) and it’s unlikely he’ll start Wednesday, La Russa said. …Madrigal was hurt last week trying to beat out a grounder and the White Sox held out hope he might recover to play again this year.
The Rays start LHP Ryan Yarbrough (4-3. 3.63) against White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito (5-5, 3.81) in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon.
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