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White Sox 6, Mariners 0: Rodón, Bullpen Take Care of Business

The fifth starter looked like an ace, throwing five scoreless innings to begin his season

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners
Back in business: Carlos Rodón opened his season on a positive note, lasting five innings and striking out nine without allowing any runs.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in an excellent recovery from the disappointing series in Anaheim. As a result, the South Siders won by a score of 6-0 to open the series in Seattle with a bang.

After a scoreless first inning, Yasmani Grandal got things started rather quickly in the second. After getting ahead of Yaz 0-2, Mariners starter Justus Sheffield hung a slider, and Grandal did not miss it.

This was Grandal’s first homer of the young season and 150th of his career, and it gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead. The blast left Grandal’s bat at 107 mph, and it traveled 417 feet.

The Mariners had a major scoring threat in the third, when J.P. Crawford led off with a soft single to center. Rodón then made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and Crawford advanced all the way to third, with no outs. This provided the Mariners with a golden opportunity to tie the game. However, Rodón escaped the jam unscathed by striking out Mitch Haniger, getting a shallow fly ball from Ty France, and striking out Kyle Seager.

The White Sox built on this momentum and added a few insurance runs in the top of the fourth. Yermín Mercedes sliced a sharp single to left to lead things off, and Grandal was the beneficiary of a sloppy play at third. On a grounder, Seager tried to rush the play in an attempt to turn two, but instead, he bobbled the ball and got no outs.

A well-executed bunt by Leury García loaded the bases, and Andrew Vaughn got hit by a pitch. That HBP resulted in Vaughn’s first major league RBI (!), and it gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead. Billy Hamilton joined in on the big inning by slicing a single to center to make it 3-0, and the bases remained loaded. Nick Madrigal followed by grounding into a double play, but a run scored to extend the South Side lead to four.

Rodón found himself in trouble again in the bottom of the fourth, when he issued three consecutive walks to load the bases with one out. However, once again, Rodón pitched his way out of the jam. After forcing a weak ground ball from Sam Haggerty that resulted in a force out at home (a 5-2 putout), Rodón struck out Crawford with an excellent slider.

The White Sox continued to pour it on in the fifth, when they started another good inning at the plate with a Yoán Moncada single. Mercedes, who finished 3-for-4 with a walk (he just keeps going) smashed a double to left (112 mph exit velocity), and Grandal picked up two more RBIs by hitting a single to center.

Grandal’s single put the White Sox up by a score of 6-0, and the bullpen did the rest. Michael Kopech was nothing short of brilliant in his two innings, striking out five, issuing one walk, and only allowing one harmless hit.

José Ruiz closed the deal by pitching two perfect innings, striking out one.

As a result of this strong all-around performance, the White Sox improved to 2-3, while the Mariners fell to 2-2.

Here’s the delicious condensed game, if you’d like to see Rodón’s mastery (and hear a F*#& YEAH!!! after a key K), here you go:

The White Sox have another late matchup against the Mariners tomorrow night, as the first pitch is scheduled for 9:10 p.m. CST again. Lucas Giolito will get the start for the White Sox, and James Paxton is Seattle’s probable starter. NBC Sports Chicago will provide television coverage, and ESPN 1000 will have the radio coverage. At SSS, Jeremy Karll returns for his second game of the season.

The game MVP votes are over on the Six Pack.