In a game being televised live back in his home country of Brazil, Rienzo gave up three runs over seven innings in a 7-4 loss, but none of the runs were earned. It was the first time a White Sox pitcher went at least seven innings without giving up an earned run in his debut since Jack McDowell also went seven scoreless innings in 1989.
Rienzo admitted to a bout of nerves, but seemed to be in control of his emotions on the mound.
"It was great to be here and a great experience," Rienzo said. "It was awesome."
With Jake Peavy traded to the Boston Red Sox after the completion of Tuesday's game, the right-handed Rienzo is expected to have a set spot in the White Sox's rotation moving forward. He figures to pitch again Sunday at Detroit.
As if nerves weren't enough, Rienzo was also facing the Cleveland Indians, who have another Brazil native in Yan Gomes. When Gomes and Rienzo faced each other in the third inning, it was the first time a pitcher from Brazil and a hitter from Brazil squared off in a major league game.
Gomes not only singled off Rienzo in the third inning, he walked off of him in the fifth inning with the bases loaded. It goes down as the first run Rienzo gave up in his major league career.
"I hope the Brazil is proud of me. I'm proud of Gomes," Rienzo said. "I hope if I have a chance next time to do better and help the team. I just want to open doors for guys coming. The talent is there, but I try to open doors. It's good."
Rienzo even showed some bravado after staying in the game after getting his right ankle stepped on in a rough fifth inning where the White Sox had an error from Alexei Ramirez and then failed to turn a double play. Rienzo said they would "have to chop my arm off" to get him out of the game.
Manager Robin Ventura was impressed with Rienzo's outing but wouldn't commit to him in the rotation since Peavy's status was still up in the air immediately after the game.
"The kid was good," Ventura said. "I think for all the excitement he had of having his first start, he was great. The one inning there was a little blip there, a couple of walks and he got spiked on the play at first. Him coming back in the next inning, I thought that was big.
"He was good, though, just with the energy and keeping his composure and coming back that inning. I think taking him out was more of a long layoff, a long inning, they had a couple of pitching changes. He was great. There was a lot of good stuff."