If you're a White Sox fan, you marvel at Carlos Rodon's ability to succeed when he doesn't have his best stuff.
If you're a Twins fan, you wonder just how many times a pitcher can offer an opportunity before the Minnesota offense takes him up on it.
Despite issuing five walks -- partially due to a terrible strike zone by Andy Fletcher -- Rodon somehow threw six scoreless innings. In the process, he outdid Phil Hughes, who outpitched Rodon in terms of efficiency, but fell prey to the Times Through the Order Penalty.
In Rodon's favor, his first five baserunners reached with two outs, making it difficult for the Twins to capitalize. He had to pitch around a leadoff walk in the fifth, though, and the sixth started with a walk and a single, giving the Twins a golden opportunity to erase a 1-0 deficit.
Paul Molitor helped give Rodon a foothold by calling for Eddie Rosario to bunt, although he wasn't in a position of strength due to a lefty-lefty matchup. Either way, Rodon then walked Eduardo Escobar intentionally to load the bases for Max Kepler, and the lefty rookie struck out on three pitches. Kurt Suzuki posed more of a fight, but not by much. He hit a couple of pop-ups barely over the dugout, until one finally stayed in play to end the threat.
Adding insult to injury, Jerry Sands hit a two-run homer off Hughes in the top of the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Nobody saw that coming, if only because Sands looked overmatched in his first two at-bats. He struck out both times, and the second one hurt. He came up to the plate with nobody out in the fifth after Melky Cabrera singled and Brett Lawrie doubled, and he struck out on three pitches. Alex Avila struck out as well, and Austin Jackson grounded out to keep the game scoreless, but Sands' at-bat still stood out.
Fortunately, the Sox continued to pick up on Hughes' scent. They finally cracked open the scoreless game in the fifth, albeit painfully. Adam Eaton singled and went to third on Jimmy Rollins' grounder through the right side, and Jose Abreu pushed Eaton across with a 6-4-3 double play.
The hits kept coming. After Cabrera hit a screamer to Joe Mauer to start the inning, Brett Lawrie found a hole through the middle. Sands didn't need one, as he blasted a 1-2 cutter over the center field fence for his first White Sox homer in his first White Sox start. Even he seemed stunned by it.
The bullpen kept the game in check, although Zach Duke faltered in another one-batter appearance and left Nate Jones to pick him up to close out the seventh. White Sox pitchers retired 11 of the last 12 they faced and limited Minnesota to just four hits on the night.
*This was Lawrie's best game yet, as he went 2-for-4 and put good swings on Hughes all three times they met.
*Rodon has thrown 10 straight quality starts.
*Eaton made a couple of nice running catches in right, as the outfield looks two-thirds sound, and one-third entertaining.
*The Twins are now 0-8.