It was hard to say which was a better sight, Carlos Rodon and Dealer again or Cesar Hernandez, Luis Robert and Jose Abreu giving the all-star left-handed a comfortable lead with an early home run flash.
The White Sox’s offensive attack, which was sketchy at best and, at worst, missing for most of a seven-game trip against the Rays and Blue Jays, hit one blow on Thursday with four home runs and helped the Sox, the Jays with 10-7 to. Defeating takes a four-game series and a 3-4 trip, which all in all could have been worse.
With Rodon pitching five innings in his first start in 19 days, the trip ended happily when the Sox entered a fun weekend in the City Series against the Cubs. It would have been better if Jays hadn’t flashed five runs against right-handed Michael Kopech in the sixth inning, but Ryan Tepera, Garrett Crochet and Craig Kimbrel have hidden the Jays’ tough lineup in the last three innings. Kimbrel fought his first save for the Sox. Eloy Jimenez added a homer in ninth.
While the Pirates follow the Cubs in a series of two games that will run them through September, the Sox will hit the home stretch in an almost guaranteed October against softer teams than they have just completed against the Yankees, Athletics, and Rays Jay. The Sox (74-55) went 7-7 against these four postseason contenders.
“The people have to hit us; We’ll be a team to beat, ”said shortstop Tim Anderson.
The Sox have nine games lead in the American League Central but will need Rodon in October and it was comforting to see he looked fresh on his tired shoulder after this long hiatus.
“He was brilliant in the form he was all year,” said coach Tony La Russa. “It was very encouraging. I can’t wait to get him out of there. “
Hernandez, 2-for-15 in his last four games, started things offensively with a homer against left-handed Hyun Jin Ryu in the second inning and made three outstanding plays at second base. Robert and Abreu homed in the third, Leury Garcia doubled in two runs in the fourth and Anderson drove in Garcia with a single in the fifth.
Catcher Seby Zavala doubled up in one run in sixth and Anderson beat him to 9-2 with a single and it looked like a laugh.
“They threw a hell of a game last night so I thought it was imperative that we go out and beat them up,” said Anderson. “And you see how we jumped on them. It was imperative to achieve a victory. “
But Kopech was marked, despite leading the count, reaching 101 mph when he left a few sliders in the zone, including one for Marcus Semien, who homed for the second time.
“He threw some good ones and made some mistakes, but I thought he had one of his best fastballs of the season,” said La Russa. “The ball just jumped. He was ahead of the thugs, but he only hung a few. He could probably have lived with his fastball, but he got too much of the record with his slider. “
Rodon improved to 10-5 with a 2.43 ERA, followed by Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease and Lucas Giolito with another good start to the series.
“There were some limits to the number of pitches,” said Rodon, who threw 67 pitches, scored 46 for strikes and nine swings and misses.
“I shot for six” [innings], and I made five. I felt pretty good today. There were some pitches that I would like to have again, but they make it difficult. You bring the ball into play. “