Carlos Rodon is not backing down down in the home stretch.
To the contrary, the rookie left-hander is charging hard toward the finish line.
Rodon (7-6) continued his strong push toward the end of his first season by allowing one run over seven innings Tuesday, and the White Sox held on for a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field. Rodon struck out eight and walked one while giving up five hits, lowering his ERA to 3.94. Over his last six starts, Rodon’s ERA is 1.76. He has 41 strikeouts over 41 innings during that span.
Rodon’s previous innings high was 132 1/3 innings during his sophomore season at North Carolina State. The Sox drafted Rodon third overall in June, 2014, after his junior season.
“I feel strong playing 162 games for the first time and playing for this long,” Rodon said. “It’s actually real fun. I’m enjoying it. It is a grind, but I enjoy every minute of it, coming into this clubhouse and hanging out with these guys and playing baseball.“It is nice, to do that much in a year, and pretty soon you’ll be looking at being able to do 200 innings for them.”With three, maybe four starts left as the Sox mix sixth man Erik Johnson and possibly Frankie Montas into their rotation down the stretch, Rodon (125 2/3 innings) figures to keep his total below or near 150 innings, which is what they had in mind for him all along as learned the rigors of pitching every fifth or sixth day after being added to the rotation on May 9.
Rodon looked strong to the end, striking out the last two hitters he faced, Michael Martinez and Jason Kipnis.
“Tonight it was just a nice performance,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Any time he got in trouble, he seemed to find an extra gear and throw strikes and throw tough pitches.” You know, when you first come up you’re probably a little tentative, aiming it. He just got to a point mentality-wise of where he’s at, and as competitive as he is, he just kind of took that over. I think he’s strong enough in his mind to get over the tentativeness that he had early.”Rookie strikeout leaders:
Nathan Karns, Rays, 145
Carlos Rodon, 131
Noah Syndergaard, Mets, 129
Anthony DeSclfani, Reds, 127
Catcher Rob Brantly, a September call-up, hit a three-run homer against right-hander Carlos Carrasco (12-10) in the second inning to give the Sox a 3-0 lead, and Jose Abreu (3-for-4) homered and singled in a run for the Sox, who were looking for their fifth win in the last six games.
Trayce Thompson singled in two runs in the seventh inning against Ryan Webb to give the Sox (66-71) a 7-1 lead. Thompson was 2-for-3 with a walk to raise his batting average to .400.
Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer for the Indians against Nate Jones in the eighth, and Jose Ramirez hit a pinch homer against Zach Duke in the ninth.
A paid crowd of 11,990 waited out a one hour, four minute delay before the start due to threatening rain.