MIAMI — Carlos Rodon finally has something to show for his efforts.
The pitcher earned his first victory since May 22 as the White Sox got just enough offense on Friday night to defeat the Miami Marlins 4-2 in front of 21,090 at Marlins Park. Rodon, who had allowed two runs or fewer in five of the 10 starts since his last victory, only yielded a run in six laborious innings to improve to 3-8. David Robertson struck out two in a perfect ninth to record his 28th save in 34 tries for the White Sox, who won for the first time in three games.
“Any time we get a win for the starter you like it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “For him to gut through it, get us to that point, it’s a lot of pitches. For me it just seems like he gets a little better when it goes long and it’s a nice (trait) 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.”
Unlike his first three innings when he recorded nine straight outs after a single to start the game, the final three frames were a struggle. Rodon had to work overtime to secure his first victory since the team was 26-18, throwing a career-high 122 pitches.
After he retired nine in a row into the fourth, Rodon ran into trouble when he issued a two-out walk of Marcell Ozuna to put two men aboard. J.T. Realmuto made it a 3-1 game with an RBI single, but Rodon won a 12-pitch battle and induced a Miguel Rojas fly out to strand the tying runs.
Rodon walked two more batters in the fifth inning, but got out of the jam with a strikeout of Christian Yelich, whom he struck out three times.
“They were tough outs, that fourth and fifth inning,” Rodon said. “Those guys were battling. “They just refused to strike out or get out.”
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Rodon said he was pleased when Ventura gave him the chance to return in the sixth inning. Even though he needed 20 pitches to retire the side, Rodon did so for a third time in the sixth.
He allowed a run and three hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
“He labored through it a little bit,” Ventura said. “But he got helped out. Guys swung the bats early in some at-bats and he got us at least to a point where we could get it to the bullpen.”
Jacob Turner, Dan Jennings, Nate Jones and Robertson allowed a run over the final nine innings to secure Rodon’s victory, one that must bring much relief to a pitcher who entered the season with extremely high hopes and hasn’t had much go his way.
The offense gave Rodon an early boost with a pair of first-inning runs and by tacking on another in the third.
Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu each had RBI singles in the first inning.
Tyler Saladino singled in a run in the second inning and Tim Anderson’s sac fly in the fifth put the White Sox back ahead 4-1. While the White Sox missed out on myriad chances to blow the Marlins out, they did enough to get Rodon back into the win column.
“It’s huge for a young guy,” said outfielder Adam Eaton, who tied a career-high with four hits. “Nobody wants to win more than he does. For him to win tonight and pitch well and the bullpen to come in and do what they did is huge for his psyche.”