MIAMI -- Playing in their first game ever at Marlins Park, the White Sox came out swinging on Friday night. Adam Eaton, who had a career-high four hits, set the tone with a leadoff single in a two-run first, and Chicago went on to a 4-2 win over the Marlins in the first of three games in the Interleague series.
Miami native Carlos Rodon gave a workmanlike effort, allowing one run on three hits in six innings, and the left-hander was lifted after a career-high 122 pitches. The Marlins have lost three of four in the homestand, and they remained a half-game ahead of the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.
"Any time we get a win for the starter, you like it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "For me, it just seems like he gets a little better when it goes long, and it's a nice trademark to have. It was a struggle at points, but you trust that he's going to be able to get that. The more you can do that the better off."
Andrew Cashner, making his fourth appearance and third start since being acquired by Miami from San Diego, got off to a rough start, allowing four straight hits and two runs to open the game. In five innings, the right-hander allowed four runs on nine hits with five walks (one intentional) and five strikeouts. In 16 1/3 innings since joining the Marlins, Cashner's ERA is 6.61, allowing 22 hits and 12 earned runs.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Cashner was dealing with a little bit of a stiff neck, and didn't seem to lack finish. When asked about it, Cashner said he was fine.
"I came out in the first, and the ball was up a little bit," Cashner said. "I thought I made an adjustment and was able to get out of some trouble. The defense made some big plays for me, too. I think, the fifth, I've really got to come out there after we score a run and shut them down."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Realmuto snaps scoreless drought: When J.T. Realmuto bounced a two-out single into center field in the fourth inning, it scored Martin Prado from second base and snapped a drought of 19 straight innings without a run for Miami, which hadn't scored since the first inning of Tuesday's 2-0 win over the Giants.
Rodon kept the Marlins off the board the first three innings, including stranding Dee Gordon, who singled and stole second to open the first inning. Miami's bid to chip closer than 3-1, however, ended when Miguel Rojas lined out to center, capping a 12-pitch showdown with the White Sox left-hander.
Eaton sets the table: Hitting leadoff for the 79th time this season, Eaton has thrived all around the lineup. He collected four hits for the 10th time in his career.
"He just plays his game," Ventura said. "In the past he might have tried to adopt wherever he was and try to be that guy. Right now he just plays. He doesn't overthink it." More >
Seventh inning stalled: The Marlins managed just four hits, but still found themselves in position to rally in the seventh inning, trailing 4-1. Miami did push across a run on Gordon's sacrifice fly off lefty reliever Dan Jennings, but couldn't do more with a second-and-third, one-out situation. Reliever Nate Jones retired Prado on a grounder to short with two outs and a runner on third.
"Offensively, we've got to be collectively better," Mattingly said. "We've talked about different things with our guys, and with [reporters] over the course of the season, just about collectively fighting, make the guy fight you for outs. Let's don't give away any outs. Let's don't give away any at-bats. If you get beat at the end of the day, and you don't get any runs, then live with it. But we don't see that collective battle. Too many easy outs for guys."
Closing the door: After blowing two straight saves against the Royals, and four of his last eight, David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth in Friday's victory. He went to a full count against Realmuto to open the ninth, but got a called third strike and finished with two strikeouts in the frame. Jones worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings to set up Robertson.
"It was nice for him to go out there and drop three and get him right back on track," Ventura said. "The closer role is relentless, it's unforgiving every time that you give up runs, which, guys give up runs. As a closer you have more riding on it than just giving up your own runs, and it's a tough job. I just appreciate Robby going out there and having a clear mind and getting it done."
"Somebody is going to get hot with where we're at in this race. And somebody is going to go out and win 10 out of 12, or 11 out of 14 or 14 out of 20, and put you in harm's way. We're going to have to get going. The way we're playing right now, we've been lucky to be where we're at." -- Mattingly, on the Marlins trying to fend off contenders for an NL Wild Card spot
"There's an edge to him that's really nice. He gets to sit through and watch [Chris] Sale and [Jose] Quintana. He'd like to move up to that level, and he has the mindset to be able to do that." -- Ventura, on Rodon
"It's been a couple of months, I feel like. I try not to think about it. Sometimes it's out of your control, but it's nice to have one tonight." -- Rodon, on his first win since May 22
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Ichiro Suzuki's pinch-hit double off former Marlins right-hander Jacob Turner in the seventh inning was career hit No. 3,003 for the 42-year-old outfielder. Ichiro is closing in on Al Kaline (3,007) for 28th on the all-time hits list.
The Marlins couldn't get Eaton out in each of his first two at-bats, and Miami even tried to get him out on the basepaths. Twice the Marlins felt Eaton didn't touch second base while sprinting to third on hits by Tyler Saladino. In the second inning, after Eaton singled, he went to third on Saladino's single to right. But the Marlins used a replay challenge to see if Eaton touched second. After a review of two minutes and 39 seconds, the call was confirmed. Eaton barely clipped the back of the base. In the first inning, the Marlins used an appeal play on Eaton, who advanced to third on Saladino's ground-rule double. Again, Eaton was called safe. On that play, it was obvious Eaton touched the base.
Gordon was ruled safe on a slow roller in front of the plate with one out in the fifth inning, a call which would have put runners on first and second. But Ventura challenged the rule, and replay showed that Abreu caught Rodon's throw and kept his foot on first base, leading to an overturn.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:James Shields has allowed 14 runs on 15 hits over 6 1/3 innings in his last two starts after reeling off six straight quality starts. The righty will start Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT in Miami.
Marlins: On Saturday, lefty Adam Conley (8-6, 3.70) gets the start for the 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Marlins Park. Conley has never faced the White Sox, and he is 4-3 (2.88) at home.