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Indians 6, White Sox 2: Anxiety gets best of Carlos Rodon, offense

Problems with the strike zone undermine attempt to start career, winning streak

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The second game of the White Sox-Indians series had plenty in common with the opener: decent starting pitching outside of a couple homers, and a sleepy offense that woke up only in the late innings.

The big difference: Carlos Rodon made his major league debut. It just wasn't the difference the Sox were hoping for.

Rodon entered in relief of Hector Noesi to face lefty Brandon Moss with runners on the corners, two outs, and the Sox trailing 2-1. He then walked Moss on four pitches to load the bases, and Terry Francona called for Ryan Raburn, who christened Rodon as a true White Sox pitcher by delivering a broken-bat, two-run single to stretch the lead to 4-1.

He ended up pitching through the eighth inning, but he never looked settled in at any point. He walked the first two batters of the seventh inning, and both came around to score after a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly and a single. Those accounted for the first two earned runs of his career, but he worked around a one-out double in a walkless eighth -- which included his first strikeout -- to give him something to feel good about.

Rodon just looked jittery, and the same can be said for the White Sox offense. Jose Abreu hit a hanging Carlos Carrasco slider out to left for a first-inning solo shot, but the Sox struggled to put much together after that, and they expanded the zone with runners in scoring position.

Their best opportunity to build a lead was in the third. Micah Johnson and Adam Eaton singled to bring Melky Cabrera to the plate with nobody out. But Cabrera, who did such a nice job of laying off low stuff in his game-winning at-bat on Monday, chased two low pitches this time. The second resulted in a 4-6-3 double play, and Abreu also expanded the zone to end the threat.

Three innings later, Scott Atchison struck out Abreu and Adam LaRoche with a runner on second. Up until the eighth, they were 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and a double play with runners in scoring position.

The Sox finally snapped out of it in the eighth. Down 6-1, Eaton, Cabrera and Abreu strung together two-out singles to put a second run on the board. Then Jose Ramirez bounced a throw that Carlos Santana couldn't scoop, which allowed Adam LaRoche to reach and load the bases for Avisail Garcia. Francona countered with Bryan Shaw, and Shaw retired Garcia by getting him to swing through an inside-corner fastball to kill the idea of a potential tying run.

Bullet points:

*Hector Noesi had a typical start: spurts of efficiency interrupted by home runs, although Rodon sabotaged his ERA a little. Still, it was an improvement over his 2015 debut, and Rodon's own inauspicious beginning will reduce any immediate heat.

*Eaton, Cabrera and Abreu combined to go 6-for-12. Problem is, LaRoche, Garcia and Conor Gillaspie combined to go 0-for-12.

Record: 5-8 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights