BOSTON — Chris Sale saw enough of Carlos Rodon’s first two seasons to know there might be a big future awaiting his fellow left-hander and former teammate.
“He could be as good as anybody,’’ Sale said. “He’s got a sturdy frame, which, for longevity, is really good. I’ve seen him throw 100 mph. I’ve seen him throw sliders at 90 or 91 with really good depth. It’s just about finding it yourself, too. Once it all clicks for him, it’s going to be really fun to watch.’’
Before the White Sox’ 3-2 loss in 11 innings to Sale’s Red Sox on Mitch Moreland’s walk-off homer against rookie left-hander Aaron Bummer, it hadn’t clicked much in Rodon’s first six starts of a season delayed until June 28 because of a sore upper left biceps. But Rodon’s sometimes fleeting command was superb in his best start yet — an 11-strikeout, no-walk performance in a season-high 7‰ innings Friday.
It was the fourth time Rodon struck out a career-high 11 and the longest outing of his career without a walk. He has 30 strikeouts in his last three starts, but he set out to attack the strike zone early, and this one was his most efficient.
“A spectacular outing against a very good ballclub,’’ manager Rick Renteria said.
Rodon worked around four singles in the fifth inning, surviving with one run scored by getting a bases-loaded forceout at home and striking out Andrew Benintendi. After Eduardo Nunez’s homer over the Green Monster leading off the sixth tied the score at 2, Rodon retired the last eight batters he faced before exiting with two outs in the eighth.
“Luckily, I got to stay out in the eighth and listen to ‘Sweet Caroline’ from the mound,’’ Rodon said. “That gave me the chills. It was special.’’
Rodon was revved up to pitch at Fenway for the first time, letting out screams after striking out Benintendi and Nunez.
“Hopefully, I didn’t offend anyone,’’ Rodon said. “Just pumped up, pitching for the first time in Fenway is something special.’’
Nicky Delmonico, who hit a three-run homer against the Red Sox in his third career game Thursday, doubled off the Green Monster in left to score two runs against lefty Eduardo Rodriguez in the fourth. Delmonico had three hits but was picked off second with one out in the 11th by catcher Christian Vazquez. The Sox, losers in 21 of their last 25, had Yoan Moncada (first multihit game) and Delmonico on with no outs in the ninth and 11th but did not score against Craig Kimbrel and Heath Hembree.
NOTES: Right fielder Avisail Garcia (sprained right thumb) took live batting practice and might not need a rehab stint, Rick Renteria said.
◆ Renteria was hopeful that third baseman Matt Davidson (right wrist) will be available Saturday.
◆ Third-base coach Nick Capra, sidelined since the All-Star break after having surgery to fix a herniated disk, will return to the field next week. Dominican academy supervisor Ever Magallanes has been filling in for Capra.
◆ The Sox signed veteran right-hander Al Alburquerque and assigned him to Class AAA Charlotte.
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