Carlos Rodon plows through five innings, sets tone for White Sox’ victory against Indians
Jose Abreu homers twice and Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal once each as the Sox improve to 9-9.
CLEVELAND — What White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon lacked in no-hit stuff was made up for with true-grit stuff.
Battling through early issues with his fastball command in his first start since pitching a no-hitter last Wednesday, Rodon gave up three hits and walked five in five innings against the same Indians. He posted no perfect innings after coming within two outs of a perfect game last week.
But Rodon, in short sleeves on a frosty 38-degree night, struck out eight and plowed his way through 110 pitches, setting the tone for a 8-5 victory that evened the Sox’ record at 9-9.
‘‘He’s showing a lot of guts, the way he competes,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘What you see when it’s cold, the ball is glossy to these pitchers. Guys have trouble commanding. It’s hard to finish off breaking balls. Difficult conditions and not an easy game. For Carlos to fight through that and get the innings he gave was outstanding.’’
Rodon was starting to find a rhythm when he struck out Franmil Reyes and Eddie Rosario to end the third and got Amed Rosario to hit a routine grounder to second baseman Nick Madrigal to open the fourth. But Yermin Mercedes, a catcher playing his first game at first base, couldn’t glove Madrigal’s low throw. Madrigal initially was charged with an error before the scoring was changed to an error on Mercedes.
After that, catcher Yasmani Grandal was called for catcher’s interference, his first of two for the night and his third this season. After a walk to Roberto Perez loaded the bases, Rodon got two strikeouts before Carlos Hernandez’s single off third baseman Yoan Moncada’s glove scored the Indians’ second run.
‘‘It’s not going to be perfect out there,’’ Rodon said. ‘‘Sometimes you have to bail your guys out.’’
The Indians’ Josh Naylor helped Rodon by running through a stop sign and getting thrown out at home by shortstop Tim Anderson to end the inning.
‘‘[Moncada] knocked that ball down, a heckuva play, and we got him out at home and got out with one run,’’ Rodon said. ‘‘Take that as a success.’’
Rodon (3-0) tacked on a scoreless fifth and exited with a 0.47 ERA through three starts. He had pitched 13 consecutive no-hit innings until a solo homer by Jordan Luplow in the third snapped his streak of 17 2/3 scoreless innings and 51 batters without allowing a hit.
Rodon said he turned the page the day after the no-hitter. When he was given an extra day of rest, it set up the challenge of facing a team in consecutive starts, which normally favors the hitters. The Indians’ Zach Plesac faced the same.
‘‘They saw me last time out, [then] saw me again six days later,’’ Rodon said. ‘‘It’s not easy, but it’s part of the job. Hats off to them for grinding out at-bats.’’
Jose Abreu homered twice, and Anderson and Grandal also went deep. Luis Robert had three hits, including his American League-leading seventh double, and collected his third stolen base.
‘‘Everything was clicking for us,’’ Anderson said.
The Sox needed the offense on a night when relievers Garrett Crochet, Aaron Bummer and Codi Heuer all got dinged. Liam Hendriks had to come in for his third save.
In the end, every one of Rodon’s five innings mattered.
‘‘Just trying to eat as many innings as I could,’’ Rodon said. ‘‘It was five today. Fortunately, it was good enough.’’
The Sox’ starter for Wednesday remained undecided after the game, La Russa said, with right-hander Jonathan Stiever expected to be added to the roster as a possibility.