It was a frigid 39 degrees at first pitch, but Edwin Jackson was as hot as they come Thursday.
After the 5-1 loss to the White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon admitted that Jackson’s 13-strikeout performance was even better than the no-hitter he threw against his old team last June.
“He was getting us out of the zone a bit, but I think that’s a tribute to how sharp his breaking pitch was,” Maddon said. “It does not surprise me that he’s turning out this good, we talked about that a few years ago. David [Price] was pretty good, but not as good as Edwin was today.”
Jackson was dominant, striking out two batters per inning until the sixth when he slowed down to one strikeout per inning. He worked through the eighth, throwing 120 pitches, scattering four hits and allowing one run, which came in the eighth. Sergio Santos worked the ninth to close the door on the Rays, who fell to 0-6.
“Any time I’m able to go out and get in an early rhythm and get outs quick and attack the strike zone, I like my odds,” Jackson said. “I have trouble in games when I’m behind in counts and have to throw strikes. There wasn’t too many times where I had to do that and when I did I was able to make a quality pitch for an out.”
Jackson is now 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in three starts against his former club.
The offense wasn’t spectacular, but the White Sox were able to string together hits against Price, who went 19-6 last year and finished second in American League Cy Young voting. Price gave up nine hits and only struck out two, but he still made big pitches when he needed to.
Overall, it was a solid home opener for the Adam Dunn-less White Sox, who sold out U.S. Cellular Field with a paid attendance of 38,579.