Carlos Rodon pitches 5 scoreless innings, Yermin Mercedes gets 3 more hits as White Sox blank Mariners
Mercedes’ 12 hits are the most by any player in the modern era over his first four career starts.
Left-hander Carlos Rodon threw five scoreless innings with nine strikeouts, Yasman Grandal hit his 150th career homer and drove in three runs, and Yermin Mercedes celebrated his Player of the Week award with three more hits lifting him into more select company as the White Sox cruised to a 6-0 victory over the host Mariners on Monday night.
Mercedes, a 28-year-old rookie who became the first player to start a season going 8-for-8, added more to his growing legend going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Mercedes also walked and is batting .667:
- His 12 hits are the most by any player in the modern era over his first four career starts.
- He is the first player with three-plus hits in a game three times in his first four career starts since Roy Campanella in 1948.
- His 12 hits are the most by any Sox player over his first four games of a season, surpassing Ducky Holmes’ 11 in 1904.
- He is also the first Sox player with three-plus hits in a game three times in his first four games of a season.
Rodon, the Sox’ No. 5 starter, allowed two hits and loaded the bases with walks in the fourth but worked out of the jam by striking out the side. He followed an encouraging spring by leading the Sox (2-3) to a needed victory after their 1-3 start against the Angels.
“Every time he goes out there, he’s taking a couple steps forward,” manager Tony La Russa said. “You can tell his velocity is improving, but his command [too]. That continued improvement, it means a lot of important things for us going down from here to October.”
Having fully recovered from elbow and shoulder surgeries, Rodon said he feels as good as he has in his career. He touched 98 mph.
“It is nice to reach in the back pocket and pull that out but like Yas [catcher Yasmani Grandal] says there is room to grow and room to be better,” Rodon said.
“I feel like there’s a lot left in the tank,” Grandal said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Carlos Rodon yet. The future for him looks pretty bright.”
Right-hander Michael Kopech struck out five Mariners in two scoreless innings of relief. Kopech has eight strikeouts in four scoreless innings over two appearances. He has allowed one hit and two walks.
“Michael, it won’t be long before he’s in that rotation,” La Russa said. “He’s also been very impressive.”
Jose Ruiz completed the team shutout with two scoreless innings.
The Sox nicked Justus Sheffield for eight hits and ran their winning streak against left-handed starters to 16, tied for the second longest streak in Major League history. The Sox will face another lefty in James Paxton in the second game of the series Tuesday.
Grandal homered in the second and had a two-run single in a three-run fourth inning.
“It means a lot, not too many people get to hit 150 homers in the big leagues,” Grandal said. “Hopefully we can get 150 more. We’ll see.”
Rookie Andrew Vaughn (0-for-3) remained hitless for the season but collected his first RBI when he was hit by a Sheffield pitch with the bases loaded. Vaughn, playing a new position, also made two good catches in left field, one of them backing up to the wall.