The White Sox gave the Royals a taste of their own medicine tonight. They scored seven runs without a homer, instead relying on well-placed hits and good baserunning to post a few crooked numbers while Carlos Rodon kept Kansas City’s offense in check.
After falling behind 2-0 before coming to the plate, the Sox wore down Yordano Ventura and the Royals with a steady stream of action and execution.
First inning: Adam Eaton led off with a double, then managed to take third despite Tim Anderson hitting a grounder to the left side. He scored on Melky Cabrera’s sac fly for the first first-inning run allowed by Ventura in 11 starts.
Third inning: Tyler Saladino led off with a double, stole third two batters later, then scored the tying run on Tim Anderson’s single. Anderson then stole second and advanced another 90 feet when Drew Butera’s throw deflected off Anderson’s foot and into center field. Cabrera couldn’t get him home with a shallow fly, but Jose Abreu’s equally unimpressive grounder to third was soft enough for a go-ahead infield single.
Fifth inning: Guess what? Another leadoff double, this one against by Eaton off the right-field wall. He moved to third on Anderson’s grounder up th emiddle, then scored when Cabrera shot a single through the right side. The Sox didn’t settle for one, as Abreu and Justin Morneau both singled to right to make it a 5-2 game.
Eighth inning: Even Todd Frazier found a way to start an inning with a double, taking second on Lorenzo Cain in right. He went to third on Avisail Garcia’s single, and while he was hung up between third and home on Omar Narvaez’s chopper to first, he prolonged the rundown long enough for the other baserunners to reach third and second. Saladino cashed them in with his third hit of the night, a single to center, allowing Tommy Kahnle to close out the game instead of David Robertson.
In the process, Rodon won his fourth consecutive start, and his fifth straight decision.
He overcame a shaky first to do so. Omar Narvaez didn’t help him, committing catcher’s interference on Paulo Orlando to start off the game. He came around to score on a Kendrys Morales single, as did Lorenzo Cain, who first-to-thirded Orlando and then stole second. That put the Sox in an early 2-0 hole.
The Royals didn’t score on Rodon over the rest of his evening, despite their best efforts. Rodon couldn’t notch a single 1-2-3 inning, and Alcides Escobar was a pest in particular, stealing a couple bases to generate scoring threats. Rodon had his strikeout stuff, and he used it. He ended the second, third and fourth innings with strikeouts, and also left the bases loaded in the sixth. Robin Ventura let him try to wiggle out of a bases-loaded jam over the 110-pitch mark, and sure enough, he pulled off one more down-and-in slider on Orlando. He got the whiff, flexing and yelling as he left the mound.
Rodon’s final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. He’s now 7-8 with a 3.80 ERA.