KANSAS CITY – There have been a lot of unpleasant surprises for the White Sox during a difficult start to the 2022 season.
But Monday night was an exception thanks to Johnny Cueto.
Their pitcher made his debut with the club against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium and looked more like the starter who made two All-Star appearances in the middle of the last decade.
Cueto, who was signed by the White Sox a month ago and made four starts in Triple-A Charlotte, pitched six scoreless inning in his regular season debut against Kansas City on Monday.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough for him to get a decision as the bullpen gave up a three-run lead in the eighth, but Luis Robert would save the effort in extra innings. The center fielder’s two-run homer in the tenth gave the White Sox a 5-3 win to start a five-game series with the Royals.
Cueto was the biggest bright spot of the night as he allowed just two hits with seven strikeouts with just two walks. He started out well by striking out the side in the first inning and wouldn’t allow a hit until the fourth, with the only threat coming in the sixth inning when two runners reached with two outs.
But Cueto finished off his outing with a strikeout with Salvador Perez, finishing with 81 pitches. It’s the starter’s first outing of six or more innings without allowing a run since June 25, 2021 against the Athletics when he was with the Giants.
If it weren’t for the eighth inning, Cueto would have been in line for the victory, but Kendall Graveman struggled in that frame as he gave up three runs on four hits to allow the Royals to tie the game. But Robert bailed him and the White Sox out with a two-out homer in the tenth, his fifth of the year, to put the visitors up for good.
As for Cueto, his start provided the team a much-needed pleasant surprise in an uneven start to 2022.