Carlos Rodon's inaugural start was the kind you'd like to see more of during his sophomore season.
His opponent, on the other hand, is somebody you'd like to see less often.
Rodon threw seven strong innings, but he still took the loss because the offense couldn't find a way to land a clean shot on Sonny Gray. The White Sox ended up on the wrong end of their third one-run game in as many nights, and the dreams of a perfect season are dashed.
Both pitchers went seven innings, and both pitchers settled down over the second halves of their evenings. The difference was a Mark Canha solo shot, one to the opposite field in the second inning that Hawk Harrelson underestimated just a touch:
"That's a can of corn...Outta here." pic.twitter.com/h3kTzvUh2X— The Athletic Chicago (@TheAthleticChi) April 7, 2016
That put the A's ahead 2-0, and it seemed like Rodon might've had even worse in store. The A's touched him up for a quick run in the first inning, Canha homered in the second, and he survived a couple of loud outs in the third.
But Rodon eventually found a rhythm without abandoning a straightforward, fastball-centric approach. He location shaped up enough to save his sliders for putaway pitches, and the result was an efficient outing: six strikeout, one walk, 99 pitches.
Unfortunately, while the Sox made Gray come at them (four walks, after just two in their first two games), they could only get to him in one inning. Austin Jackson cancelled the postgame show with a ground-rule double to start the third, then came home on a groundout and a Jimmy Rollins sacrifice fly to cut the A's lead in half.
Gray and the A's bullpen found ways to short-circuit other attempts:
Fourth inning: Alex Avila assumes Jackson's low line drive will get through the right side, but it's hit to Jed Lowrie, who flips to second for an inning-ending double play.
Sixth inning: Adam Eaton gets to second with one out, but Jose Abreu grounds out, and after a pitch-around to Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera taps softly into a 1-3.
Eighth inning: Eaton leads off with an infield single, but Rollins hits into a double play. Abreu keeps the inning alive with a single, but Frazier grounds into a forceout.
Ninth inning: Melky Cabrera leads off with a single, but the runner doesn't get any further. Alex Avila ends the game with a strikeout, two-thirds of it on pitches off the plate called strikes.
There are worse ways to record a first loss of the season, especially considering the Sox had won their previous five games at O.co Coliseum.
*Eaton went 2-for-3 with a walk, meaning he's reached base eight times in three games. That's pretty good.
*Jake Petricka has walked three batters in one inning of work this season, but he pitched around two of them to get three outs in a scoreless eighth.