A lot of highly-touted nouns have disappointed White Sox fans this year.
Thankfully, Carlos Rodon's first start was not one of them.
Shaky in his relief appearances, Rodon had time to find a groove, and so he asserted himself for his first major league win. He struck out eight over six innings, limiting the Reds to just two runs on four singles and four walks. As you might expect, he wasn't the most efficient of starters (108 pitches), but that's nitpicking after a much-needed victory.
His teammates provided support in a number of ways.
Compared to the assignment in the first game (Johnny Cueto), Jason Marquis was a much more favorable draw, and the Sox offense hit a lot of balls hard. Alexei Ramirez gave the Sox a 2-0 lead after two with his second homer of the day, and after Rodon gave the runs back in the top of the third, the Sox spent the rest of the game slowly piling on.
They regained the lead in the fourth thanks to four straight hits, even though it led to one run (more on that later). Avisail Garcia and Gordon Beckham added solo shots off Marquis in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 5-2, and they tagged on three more in the seventh with another string of hits.
But they also showed up for Rodon defensively. In the first, Rodon squeaked out of a first-and-third, one-out jam by getting a pop-up on a hit-and-run. Marlon Byrd took forever picking up the ball, and Emilio Bonifacio had ample time to catch it and flip to first for the double play.
Melky Cabrera foiled another potential rally in the sixth inning, throwing out Joey Votto at second as he tried to stretch a single into a double. So Rodon got through his first start with only one bad inning, when two soft singles over Bonifacio's head came around to score on a Votto single.
The bullpen carried it the rest of the way, due in large part to Zach Duke. He inherited runners on first and second with one out and Billy Hamilton at the plate. With one pitch, he got the speedy Hamilton to hit into just his second career double play, a 6-3 job that ended the inning.
Really, only the baserunning looked iffy in the nightcap. Garcia was thrown out trying to steal second in the fourth, which is a big reason why four hits only amounted to one run. Bonifacio's apparently delayed steal attempt was thwarted to end the sixth. Adam Eaton almost added to the mess with a strange stutter-start at first, but he ended up coaxing a balk out of Pedro Villareal instead.
*For the seventh straight year, the South Side Sox meetup featured food, folks and fun.