Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon had the best month of his young career in August, posting a 3-0 record in five starts with a 1.47 ERA in 30⅔ innings pitched. With the calendar flipping to September and following up Jose Quintana's worst start of 2016, Rodon was given the task to help stop the Sox' four-game losing streak.
He held up his end of the bargain by pitching seven innings for the first time since April, and the offense piled it on late as the White Sox won 11-4.
The Sox manufactured a run in the first inning. Adam Eaton led it off with single up the middle and advanced to second on Tyler Saladino's sacrifice bunt. That's wlways a questionable move to begin giving up outs early, and it looked bad when Melky Cabrera struck out. However, the move ended up working out as Jose Abreu hit a soft liner to center to score Eaton.
Working with an early lead, Rodon had a quick 12-pitch first inning by striking out Brian Dozier, hitting Jorge Polanco, and getting Trevor Plouffe to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
In the second, Rodon hit Miguel Sano during his swing, but according to the first-base umpire, Sano was able to check it up and head to first. Former Sox Eduardo Escobar drove a decent fly ball along the right field line that Avisail Garcia didn't get in the best position. He made the catch but ended up flat-footed, allowing Sano to tag and advance to second base. Rodon then got Max Kepler to fly out to left and struck out Kurt Suzuki with another patented slider ending the threat. Again, on 12 pitches.
Then, trouble in the third.
Logan Schaefer drove it to the left-center gap and Eaton made a diving effort, but fell just short as it bounced off his glove for a double. Byron Buxton, who hit a three-run homer that was last night's game-changer, singled to right, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. In trouble, Rodon's belt-high fastball was blasted by Brian Dozier, giving Minnesota the 3-1 lead. Polanco made it four straight hits with a single to center. After Plouffe flied out to center, Rodon was able to get Polanco caught stealing for the second out. The inning ended with a strikeout against Sano, but the damage was done.
Unlike last night for Quintana, the offense broke out for Rodon. In the fourth, Abreu led it off with a single. Justin Morneau followed with a chopper up to shortstop Eduardo Escobar. Instead of taking the play himself for a 6-3 double play, Escobar flipped the ball to Dozier, which allowed enough time for Morneau to beat out the throw. That mistake ended up hurting when Todd Frazier hit his 35th homer of 2016 to tie the game at 3.
In the fifth, Eaton racked up his third hit with another single. He reached second thanks to a hit-and-run on Saladino's chopper to short, and came around to score on Melky Cabrera's soft liner as the Sox retook the lead, 4-3.
That lead didn't last long thanks to a misplayed grounder by Cabrera. With runners on third and second, Polanco hit a sac fly to center scoring Buxton and tying the game, 4-4. On the throw, Eaton hit Abreu to cut off Dozier at third preventing additional damage that inning.
In the sixth, the Sox won the see-saw battle for good. With runners on first and second with two outs, Carlos Sanchez hit a ground-rule double to right scoring one, and the Sox led 5-4.
Then the game blew open in the eighth and ninth innings, as the Sox offense scored three runs each inning to finish the night's output at 11.
Rodon was replaced by Nate Jones in the eighth and his night ended with a line of 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, which is the first time he's finished seven innings since April 29 in Baltimore. He is now 6-8 with a 3.90 ERA.
- What a night for Adam Eaton: 4-for-5 with four runs, a walk and an RBI.
- Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu were both 3-for-6 with 3 RBIs
- Todd Frazier now has the all-time most home runs hit by a White Sox third baseman in a single season with 34 and counting (1 as the first baseman). The previous mark was held by Bill Melton when he hit 33 in 1971. Robin Ventura hit 34 homers in 1996, but only 32 of them were as the third baseman.
Record: 64-70 | Box Score | Play-by-Play | Highlights