PITTSBURGH -- The White Sox have entered one of those free falls where nothing seems to go right.
The current downward spiral is now four games old with three more contests upcoming against the red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates.
On Monday night, rookie starter Carlos Rodon got hit hard early and the bottom fell out in an 11-0 White Sox loss to the Pirates in front of 24,536 at PNC Park. Losers of four straight, the White Sox made three errors and dropped to six games below .500. Rodon allowed a career-high seven runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings and former White Sox pitcher Francisco Liriano twirled a gem against his former team, striking out 12. Liriano and Rob Scahill combined on a two-hit shutout as the White Sox struck out 13 times.
“We get a good hustle play from Eaton getting on base (to start the game) and after that I don't know what we did well,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We didn't do anything well after that. It's that simple.”
Rodon (2-1) looked out of sync early.
One of the biggest positives of the 2015 season so far, Rodon struggled immediately as he issued a leadoff walk to Josh Harrison in the first inning. The left-hander then gave up five straight hits, including a two-run triple to Francisco Cervelli, as the White Sox fell behind 5-0.
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Rodon got out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts and a Tyler Flowers caught stealing and pitched around singles over the next two frames. But Rodon only lasted into the fourth as he surrendered a leadoff double to Jordy Mercer and Harrison followed with one of his four singles to make it 6-0. With the game out of hand, the White Sox yanked Rodon after 69 pitches. Harrison stole second and Starling Marte, who had four hits, singled off Daniel Webb to close the book on Rodon. On the play, Jose Abreu dropped the throw he cut off.
“Fastball command wasn’t too great, leaving balls over the plate and balls were getting hit,” Rodon said. “That was a good hitting club. It’s the big leagues, anybody can hit. You’ve just got to forget about today and go on to tomorrow. Q’s going to give us a good start. He’ll turn this thing around.”
Hector Noesi took over and immediately issued a pair of walks, one scoring on Mercer’s double to make it 8-0.
An inning later, Harrison singled with one out ahead of three straight doubles that made it 11-0. Marte’s double resulted in a Little League home run as Emilio Bonifacio’s relay throw to third got away from Gordon Beckham, who was charged with an error. Alexei Ramirez also had an error for the White Sox, who entered the game second to last in the league in Defensive Runs Saved, according to fangraphs.com.
The White Sox offense was no match for Liriano, who struck out 12 over eight scoreless innings. Liriano -- who appeared in 12 games (11 starts) for the White Sox in 2012 -- had a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Melky Cabrera singled up the middle to break up the no-hit bid, only his sixth hit in 54 at-bats against left-handed pitchers this season.
Liriano (4-5) struck out the side in the fourth and sixth innings. He threw strikes on 69 of 100 pitches and limited the White Sox to two hits and a walk.
It’s the 12th time this season the White Sox have lost by at least five runs.
“It went downhill pretty quick,” center fielder Adam Eaton said. “You hope you can get more than two hits offensively. Defensively you have three errors and throw the ball around and its not a good sign. But this is a good team. We’ve got to continue to work hard and try to compete every game and every at-bat. But we need to start doing it a little more frequently and grind out at-bats and same thing on the mound and defensively it has got to be much better.”