If Robin Ventura doesn't change his mind, tonight was Carlos Rodon's last start of the season.
It was a fine finale for a successful rookie season.
Rodon overcame control issues to throw six innings of two-run ball, then watched Mike Olt and Gordon Beckham hit solo homers in the top of the seventh to give the White Sox the lead for good.
CC Sabathia had more or less subdued the Sox through six, but Olt put a charge into the proceedings by turning on a 2-1 fastball and cranking it to the second deck behind Yankee Stadium's left field to give the Sox a 3-2 lead. Two batters later, Gordon Beckham boosted his successful career line against Sabathia by hammering a two-seamer out to left on a lower line drive.
The Yankees couldn't find an answer, and now the White Sox have matched last year's win total with 73. Eight games remain.
The seventh-inning homers also gave the Sox some release after grunting out single runs against Sabathia in the second and third. Alexei Ramirez scored Melky Cabrera from first with a one-out double, but even though four batters came to the plate after Ramirez, no other runs scored. Sabathia struck out Olt, walked Tyler Flowers, plunked Beckham, but left the bases loaded by getting Adam Eaton to chop out.
One inning later, the Sox manufactured a run when Trayce Thompson singled, moved up on a hit-and-run groundout and scored on Avisail Garcia's single to left. That satisfaction was short-lived as well, as the throw home was cut off, and the Yankees caught Garcia well off first base. Compounding the frustration, the Yankees botched the rundown, but Garcia took a circuitous route to first base instead of running into either the pitcher or the catcher in his way. He could've drawn an interference call, but instead he tried to catch the corner of the base and slid past it. He was tagged before he could scramble back.
And all that hard work was nullified in the bottom of the fourth courtesy of a weird inning. Brian McCann led off by fisting a pop-up to shallow right field, which is where Beckham was shifted. But he broke the opposite way of the path of the ball, which fell for a goofy single. Then Chris Young singled on a grounder that a diving Alexei Ramirez could stop, but couldn't control.
Greg Bird made the first contact of the inning with a well-struck line drive to deep right, but Thompson maxed out his speed and height and made a fantastic leaping catch that kept both runners at first and second. Nevertheless, both scored. Rodon walked Rob Refsnyder to load the bases, then gave up a two-run single to Didi Gregorius to tie the game at 2.
However, Rodon escaped further damage, even though he allowed a hit. Brett Gardner's single to center only reloaded the bases, and Chase Headley grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Rodon could've suffered worse considering he walked five and plunked two batters on top of five hits over his six innings. He didn't have control of his slider, but he was a still able to limit good contact, and induced another double play to end his final inning of work. The defense then turned two more 6-4-3 twin killings -- one behind Matt Albers in the seventh, and another for Zach Duke in the eighth.
David Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in his first game at Yankee Stadium since New York's last home game of the 2014 season, when he blew a save that set up Derek Jeter's walk-off winner.
*The Sox had an eventful night on the basepaths. After Garcia ran into an out to end the third inning, Ramirez should have been thrown out trying to tag up on a fly to deepish center. The throw beat him, but Ramirez pulled off one of his crazy slides to beat Refsnyder's tag:
*On the other hand, Adam Eaton stole second in the ninth inning with runners on the corners and two outs. Only one small problem: Jose Abreu was at the plate, and Joe Girardi brought in right-handed Chris Martin to face him. Given Abreu's drastic reverse splits, this should've played into the White Sox' hands. Instead, Eaton opened a base for the intentional walk to Abreu, and Thompson lined out to short to end the rally.
*Eaton did come through with a two-out RBI single to reach base in the first base, so it's hard to get that mad. But it wasn't a great night for awareness on the basepaths.