Carlos Rodon got away with being wild. Dan Jennings wasn’t as fortunate.
After Rodon allowed only one run over six innings despite allowing five walks – hiking his base on balls total to 15 in 16 innings of work since he became a starter – Jennings walked the first batter he faced in the seventh, then threw the ball into center field after fielding a sacrifice bunt to set up a three-run inning Wednesday that powered the Cleveland Indians to a 4-3 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Sox made it interesting with Conor Gillaspie’s home run in the seventh and a run in the ninth to get within one, but closer Cody Allen struck out pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck to end the game.
“You’re just giving the other team opportunities,’’ manager Robin Ventura said of Jennings’ rocky seventh. “You clean that up and you probably have a better chance to win that game.’’
Rodon, the Sox’ prized rookie whose big-time slider and fastball provide hope for a bright future, knows he’ll have to zero in on the strike zone to avoid giving away too much. When dominating at North Carolina State just a year ago, hitters chased what major league hitters are laying off.
“Yeah, little steps day by day,” he said. “Getting better. I just have to fill the zone.
“They get in those counts where they can hit and it’s tough.’’
Indians right-hander Shaun Marcum (1-0, 2.31 ERA) didn’t walk anyone and held the Sox to a pair of runs on homers by Adam Eaton and Gillaspie. The Sox had a chance against Allen, who walked two and allowed Jose Abreu’s single that extended his hitting streak to 15, but Gillaspie fouled out on the first pitch for the second out – Ventura defending him for being aggressive with a good pitch to hit — and after Ramirez pushed a run across with an infield single, pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck struck out swinging with the bases loaded.
Rodon has walked and struck out at least four batters in each of his three starts, so he’s kind of all over the board as he learns on the job.
“When it does come around he’s going to be dangerous,” Eaton said.