By Mark Sheldon and Scott Merkin
MLB.com |@m_sheldon |
CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon's first Major League start was a highly successful effort, as Chicago's top prospect per MLB.com gave up two runs over six innings in an 8-2 victory over the Reds Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field. The victory gave the White Sox a split of the doubleheader after dropping the opener by a 10-4 margin.
Rodon had made three previous appearances in relief for the White Sox, but starting pitching stands as his future responsibility with the South Siders. He struck out eight, all swinging, walked four and yielded four hits. He touched 98 mph twice with his fastball and even got to 99 mph with one pitch. The only runs scored against Rodon came on a Joey Votto bases-loaded single in the third. Rodon threw 67 of his career-high 108 pitches for strikes.
"I felt real comfortable," Rodon said. "Just the same old thing, different ballgame."
Jason Marquis, who once gave up 13 earned runs in a start against the White Sox for the Cardinals in 2006, was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings. Alexei Ramirez finished a triple short of the cycle in leading the 14-hit attack that featured five players with multi-hit efforts.
"I didn't do a very good job of keeping the ball down in the zone tonight," said Marquis, who had not allowed three homers in a game since Aug. 16, 2012. "They did a good job of hitting the mistakes. It would have been nice to take both games today. I put the team in the hole early. It's no fun going out there and giving up five runs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED White Sox love the long ball: After Jose Abreu and Ramirez went deep in Game 1 of the doubleheader, the South Siders knocked out three home runs in Game 2 against Marquis. Ramirez, Avisail Garcia and Gordon Beckham all connected in the nightcap. The White Sox had 14 homers as a team in the previous 25 games.
Votto returns from suspension: After sitting out Game 1 to serve a one-game suspension, Votto made it a 2-2 game in the third inning with a bases-loaded single to left field off of Rodon that scored two runs. It snapped a 0-for-9 streak for the first baseman. Votto led off the sixth inning with a hit to left field but was easily thrown out at second base by Melky Cabrera trying for a double. He also hit a single to right field in the eighth.
First inning fizzles: The Reds had Rodon on the ropes in the first inning after Hamilton and Marlon Byrd started the game with walks. With one out and Byrd running on the pitch, Todd Frazier popped out to first baseman Adam LaRoche. With Byrd well on his way to second base, second baseman Emilio Bonifacio alertly scampered to first base and took the throw from LaRoche for an inning-ending double play.
"It was a straight steal, not a hit-and-run. It didn't pan out," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The ball was popped up close to first base. All LaRoche had to do was that little flip to Bonifacio to get the double play. You could tell the kid was scuffling a little bit with the command. I'm sure he felt very strong and was probably amped up for his first start. That was when I felt he was the most vulnerable. Then he was able to find his rhythm a little bit. He worked ahead in the count more and started to make better pitches with his fastball and slider."
"I don't think we're spending a whole lot of time trying to critique him right there. Just let him pitch and throw it." -- Ventura, on the approach toward Rodon's first start.
LONG BALL MILESTONE
With 101 career homers, Ramirez trails only Jose Valentin (136) in career homers by a White Sox shortstop. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: For Sunday's 2:10 p.m. ET/1:10 CT series finale vs. Chicago, the Reds will send rookie Michael Lorenzen to the mound for his third big league start. Lorenzen earned his first win in the Majors on Tuesday with one run and three hits allowed over six innings.
White Sox:John Danks allowed seven runs over 2 1/3 innings and committed two errors against the Twins in a loss last Sunday. Danks has never faced the Reds, but he has a 10-7 Interleague record with a 3.09 ERA. .