CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon worked a career-high seven innings, allowing four hits and just one walk, during the White Sox 3-0 victory over the Angels on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Rodon struck out a career-high 11, and pushed the Angels to their eighth straight road loss. The White Sox (53-58) also moved to within 5 1/2 games of the American League's second Wild Card spot, currently held by the Angels (59-53).
"I think command, he was getting ahead and getting guys swinging late," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Rodon's effectiveness. "Really impressive stuff from Ro after the last couple haven't been his best."
Hector Santiago, who came to the Angels via a trade with the White Sox, took the loss in his first career start against his original team. Santiago retired the first 10 hitters faced before Tyler Saladino reached on an infield single in the fourth. Santiago hit Jose Abreu with a pitch and then yielded a two-run double to Melky Cabrera.
"Still, there aren't many guys we want to have in that situation on our team outside of Albert," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Big trouble? Big hitters? No problem: Rodon walked Victorino and gave up a single to Calhoun to open the first inning, putting the southpaw in trouble after just eight pitches. He then had to face Trout and Pujols with two on and nobody out. But Rodon struck out Trout looking with a 3-2 slider Erick Aybar's fly out to left on a 3-2 pitch ended the rally and the inning.
"We started off OK," Scioscia said. "[Rodon] made some pitches in the first inning to Mike and to Albert, and actually to Erick, after we set the table to get out of some damage there. You could see the stuff is live coming out of his arm. He settled in, worked ahead in the count and we didn't get too many good looks at him." More >
Welcome back: In his first start since being traded from Chicago, Santiago showed glimpses of what impressed both teams early on. He gave up just four hits and one walk while striking out four, but it also marked the fourth straight game Santiago has allowed three or more runs.
"I think I probably could have probably mixed up a little more, made a few pitches early in the count, kind of get them off the fastball," Santiago said. "But for the most part, I was in control of it. They didn't roll a bunch of hits together.
Thompson's career milestone: With two outs in the fifth inning, Trayce Thompson connected on his first career home run. Thompson, who started in left field, went deep on a 2-1 sinker from Santiago.
"It was nice. It was just another game, but it was definitely nice to help the team and to contribute to a win," Thompson said. "That's all it really is. Tonight was really fun. Carlos was amazing." More >
"I don't think about that. Just the same way that I'm like that, you can easily go on a tear and forget about what happened the last three months. … It's a part of the game. It's stuff that happens. You think I want to get myself out? I want to come through every time, but it doesn't happen." -- Pujols, on hitting .215 with runners in scoring position, including his double play in the eighth inning with the bases loaded
STRIKING OUT THE OPPOSITION
Rodon joined Gary Peters, Jack Harshman and Jason Bere as the only rookies in White Sox history to fan at least 10 in two games during their rookie season per STATS. Harshman did it three times.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels:Andrew Heaney looks to rebound from his last outing when he takes the mound for the Angels in Wednesday's finale of a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. Heaney allowed a season-high four runs his last time out, the first time he allowed more than two runs in a game since starting in June. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PT.
White Sox:John Danks (6-9, 4.79) completes this three-game set against the Angels Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. CT. Danks is 4-3 with a 3.70 ERA over 11 starts at home this season and 3-4 lifetime against the Angels.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.