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White Sox 7, Twins 6: Bullpen uses entire cushion

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Carlos Rodon and middle of the order team up to build big lead, and all of it was needed

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox - Game one Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

The White Sox won the battle of the lopsided starters well enough to survive their bullpen, where Derek Holland didn’t look any better than he did in the rotation.

Carlos Rodon pitched 6 13 strong innings while the White Sox offense solved Tim Melville, resulting in a 7-2 lead before Rodon handed the ball to the bullpen. Danny Farquhar gave up a run in the seventh, but it was Holland who added a sense of urgency to the proceedings after a 19-minute rain delay.

Holland took over after Farquhar retired Ehire Adrianza, and his evening began ominously when he had trouble with the landing spot during warm-ups. Eddie Rosario greeted him with a seeing-eye single through the middle, but Holland came back to strike out Mitch Garver to put him one out away from a decent introduction to relief life.

Then he walked Kennys Vargas and fell behind Jorge Polanco 2-0, allowing Polanco to turn and burn on a down-and-in fastball for a three-run homer and a one-run game.

Jake Petricka came in and allowed a double to Brian Dozier to put the tying run in scoring position, but Leury Garcia flagged down Joe Mauer’s line drive on the warning track. Given the circumstances, Juan Minaya picked a great time for his first 1-2-3 inning as a closer.

If the bullpen completed the collapse, it would’ve been a classic tank win, as the important White Sox came through.

Rodon did his job, surviving early control issues by pitching into the seventh. His game-starting leadoff walk came around to score for a quick 1-0 hole, but when the White Sox offense gave him a lead going into the second, he never jeopardized it. He retired 10 of 11 while the offense padded the cushion, and he minimized the damage from a bases-loaded jam in the sixth by limiting the Twins to a sac fly.

He finished the day allowing two runs on four hits and three walks over 6 13 innings with nine strikeouts, good for his fifth consecutive better-than-quality start.

The heart of the White Sox order allowed Rodon to pick up his second win of the season. The No. 3 through No. 6 hitters -- Jose Abreu, Nicky Delmonico, Avisail Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez — went 6-for-13 with two walks, six runs and seven RBIs. The rest of the lineup was 0-for-15.

That said, Yoan Moncada started the first inning with a walk. He went to third on Abreu’s double to right, and when he didn’t score on Delmonico’s groundout for reasons not yet revealed — I wondered if his shin splints got to him on a stolen-base attempt earlier in the inning — Garcia picked him up with a two-run single through the middle.

Melville settled in himself by retiring the side in order in the second and third innings, but the middle of the order came through again. Delmonico led off with a walk, took third on a Garcia single, and everybody scored when Yolmer Sanchez lifted a homer to right center, giving the Sox a 5-1 lead.

Melville’s day ended after a walk and an HBP, and he departed from his MLB debut with a 13.50 ERA.

Nik Turley did a yeoman’s job of sparing Paul Molitor’s bullpen by pitching 3 23 innings of relief, but he did give up the two decisive runs in the fifth. Abreu led off with his 25th homer of the year. Delmonico followed with another walk, stole second, took third on a Garcia single and scored on Sanchez’s sac fly.

Bullet points:

*Sanchez tied a career high with four RBIs.

*Moncada struck out in his other three at-bats after the first-inning walk.

Record: 48-74 | Box score