CLEVELAND — One inning — and what a bad one it was — was all that separated White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon from the usual good stuff he shows against the Indians.
Rodon, making his third start of the season and second in six days Tuesday against a team he was 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA against going in, opened with a perfect first inning, including strikeouts of Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez.
And then in the second, Rodon labored through the worst inning he has ever experienced at Progressive Field, throwing six balls to start it, walking two, hitting Brandon Guyer and uncorking a bases-loaded wild pitch in a 6-3 loss.
Rodon (0-2, 4.41 ERA) almost wriggled out of all that with two runs allowed, but a well-placed two-out single by Francisco Lindor scored two more and gave the Indians a 4-1 lead. After that, Rodon strung four scoreless innings and pitched into the seventh for his longest start of the season. He retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.
“It’s good I went into the seventh, but that second inning really hurts,’’ Rodon said. “You can’t hurt yourself like that.’’
He was upset with himself for not protecting a lead after Yoan Moncada (double) and Jose Abreu (RBI single) produced a run in the first inning against Mike Clevinger (6-2), who struck out 10 in 7‰ innings of one-run ball while improving to 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA in three starts against the Sox this season.
“That’s two starts in a row where I hurt myself walking guys,’’ Rodon said. “You’ve just got to get ahead, and that stuff can’t happen.’’
The American League Central-leading Indians (39-33) won for the eighth time in their last nine games at home against the Sox (24-48).
Mixed bag for Moncada
Moncada struck out twice and doubled twice, his second two-bagger driving in two runs in the ninth.
An infield error brought Abreu to the plate as the tying run, forcing the Indians to bring in closer Cody Allen, who picked up his 15th save. Abreu (1-for-5) flied out to right to end it.
Moncada’s whopping strikeout total reached 100, second in the majors to the Rangers’ Joey Gallo, who has fanned 109 times.
No way, says Jose
Abreu, who leads AL first basemen in fan voting for the July 17 All-Star Game in Washington, wasn’t interested in participating in the Home Run Derby when he was an All-Star in 2014, and that won’t change if he makes his second appearance. Abreu said he participated in three home-run competitions in Cuba and hit a total of six.
“My swing is not cut out for that,’’ he said.
Abreu said his approach to hitting isn’t conducive to hitting batting-practice home runs.
“It’s tough for me because if you want to hit homers, you have to pull the ball,’’ he said. “And my mindset, my approach as a hitter, is to hit the ball to right field. You can’t do that and win home-run derbies.’’
This and that
Charlie Tilson went 3-for-4, all singles, raising his average to .280.
† Class A Winston-Salem outfielder Joel Booker went 3-for-4 with a lead-off homer and four RBI in the Carolina League all-star game and was named MVP.
† Class AA catcher Zack Collins won the Southern League Home Run Derby.