ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Alex Rios led off the ninth inning with a home run and the Chicago White Sox got their first win for new manager Robin Ventura, beating the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers 4-3 on Saturday night.
Rios homered off new Rangers closer Joe Nathan (0-1) who got a save with a perfect inning in the season opener a day earlier but entered a tie game this time.
The homer to Rios cleared the 8-foot wall in center field just out of the reach of leaping center fielder Josh Hamilton.
Paul Konerko drove in three runs for the White Sox in his 2,000th career game.
Matt Thornton (1-0) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth after coming back from a 3-0 count against Mike Napoli, who grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice. Hector Santiago, a 24-year-old rookie left-hander in his third major league game, worked a perfect ninth for his first major league save.
Both starting pitchers, Derek Holland and Jake Peavy, struck out five while giving up three runs over six innings.
Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young winner, hadn’t started since last Sept. 6. The right-hander was shut down for the rest of the season after going 7-7 in his comeback from shoulder surgery in 2010.
Holland made his first start since getting a new $28.5 million, five-year contract from Texas last month. That deal goes through 2016 and includes two club options after that.
The 25-year-old left-hander finished last season allowing only two hits in 8 1-3 scoreless innings in Game 4 of the World Series against St. Louis at Rangers Ballpark, but the White Sox got on the board in a hurry against Holland.
Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a single, stole second and came home on a two-out single by Konerko.
De Aza reached in the third when Holland was charged with an error after dropping a comebacker, but the speedy center fielder was promptly picked off first base.
Holland walked the next two batters before Konerko’s two-run double made it 3-1.
The Rangers got even in the bottom of the third when Ian Kinsler had a leadoff triple, after De Aza dove for the ball that scooted past his glove toward the wall. Elvis Andrus then had an RBI single, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Beltre.
Napoli had an RBI single in the second.
Notes: Konerko has played all but 81 of his games with the White Sox in his 15-year career. … Lefty Matt Harrison, 2-0 with a 3.54 ERA in five career starts against the White Sox, makes his 2012 debut for the Rangers in Sunday’s finale. … RHP Gavin Floyd, who starts for Chicago on Sunday night, allowed only two runs (one earned) and six hits over 14 innings in his two starts against Texas last season. … 1B/OF Brad Hawpe, released by the Rangers late in spring training, has signed a minor league deal with the organization and assigned to Double-A Frisco. He is rebuilding arm strength in a return from left elbow surgery last August. … Texas players and staff were presented their 2011 American League championship rings, 48 in all, before the game.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)