CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon appeared to find the strikeout pitch in finishing up this 2016 season.
After going the entire year without reaching double-digits in a start, Rodon matched a career-high by striking out 11 over eight innings last Sunday in Cleveland and fanned 10 in six innings during a 7-3 victory over the Twins Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Rodon allowed two earned runs over his last 14 innings pitched.
Rodon struck out the first seven hitters of the game, tying an American League record for most strikeouts in a row to start a game and a White Sox record for most consecutive strikeouts at any point in a game. Rodon tied Joe Cowley for both marks. Cowley accomplished the feat against Texas on May 28, 1986.
"Just having fun. Having fun with the guys out there," Rodon said. "It's a game and we get to enjoy it every day. Can't really call this a job. Just having fun out there."
"It was definitely the best stuff-wise of having it all -- fastball, slider, mix in a change," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's just a big confidence boost for him of getting to that point where he can do that."
Tyler Duffey struck out four for the Twins, but didn't record many more outs over his two-plus innings. The White Sox got to the right-hander for five runs on six hits, with rookie Tim Anderson tripling and launching a two-run homer. Melky Cabrera doubled twice and drove in two, while Jose Abreu picked up RBI No. 99 with a third-inning double to end Duffey's night.
Minnesota put together a three-run sixth-inning rally, assisted by Todd Frazier's fielding error, but still fell for the 103rd time this season. That loss set a single-season Twins record, topping the 102 from 1982.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cycling for success: Anderson, who finished a double short of the cycle when he grounded out in the eighth, started the uprising against the Twins with a one-out triple in the first off the glove of center fielder Byron Buxton that also could have been ruled an error. He put an exclamation point on the night via his blast to left, with an exit velocity of 106 mph and an estimated distance of 427 feet per Statcast™. Anderson has 33 mutlti-hit efforts this season and is 9-for-18 (.500) over his last four games with two triples, two home runs and five RBIs.
"For sure, I wanted to hit a double," Anderson said. "I did it in Double-A. When everything is clicking for you, I feel real great, but it just kind of got in on me."
Sano's near miss: The Twins scored twice in the sixth on a wild pitch from Rodon and an RBI single from Jorge Polanco before loading the bases with nobody out for Miguel Sano. Sano launched a deep drive to right field, but Adam Eaton was able to make the catch up against the fence. The near-grand slam brought home a run with a sacrifice fly, but wasn't enough to get Minnesota back into the game.
"We didn't do a lot offensively," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We finally put together an attempt to make a comeback, but we couldn't get the hit to put us any closer."
That's a first:Omar Narvaez showed off his muscles in the fourth inning by launching his first career home run. The White Sox catcher connected on an 88-mph fastball from Pat Dean on the first pitch of the inning. His dad, Omar, was in the stands and it also happened to be Narvaez's father's birthday.
"It's a very special gift for my dad. That's what I was thinking as I was running the bases," said Narvaez, who was able to retrieve the ball. "It's the best thing I could do [today]."
Bullpen holds down the fort: Duffey gave up five runs in two-plus innings, but Minnesota's relievers fared much better. Lefty Pat Dean surrendered two runs over 3 1/3 innings, while right-hander Pat Light tossed 1 2/3 scoreless frames. Fellow lefty Ryan O'Rourke threw a 1-2-3 eighth, but was given a warning after throwing a pitch behind Anderson, who drew the ire of Duffey after admiring his homer in the third.
"He backpedaled out of the box and stood there and enjoyed it," Duffey said of Anderson. "It's one thing to hit a 500-foot homer like Nelson Cruz and jog around the bases. It's one of those things where it's baseball, don't give it up if you don't like it."
"I have nothing to say about it," said Anderson of the pitch that drew the warning. "It happened and move on."
"It stinks. At least 10 of those are my fault. That's tough to swallow. That's part of the game, part of learning and part of getting better." -- Duffey, on the record-setting 103rd loss.
"[Pitching coach Don Cooper] told me one thing a long time ago -- well, last year wasn't that long of a time ago but -- You're going to take lumps, you're going to give lumps, it's all a learning process. Eventually at the end of the day hopefully you'll turn into something great."-- Rodon, on his strong finish to '16.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With Duffey failing to get his 10th win, the Twins didn't have a 10-game winner for the fourth time in franchise history. The other times were in 1981, 2011 and 2013.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Left-hander Hector Santiago (12-10, 4.87 ERA) will make his final start of the year for Minnesota in the second-to-last game of the season against the White Sox on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT. After posting a 10.89 ERA in his first four starts with the Twins, he's had a much more respectable 3.75 ERA over his last six outings.
White Sox:James Shields (6-18, 5.82) will make his 33rd start and 22nd for the White Sox on Saturday night. Shields is 1-6 with an 8.54 ERA over his last 11 starts, although he won his last trip to the mound against the Rays. He is 4-11 with a 6.79 ERA with the White Sox.