MINNEAPOLIS -- His rookie campaign might have ended early, but the White Sox have no such plans for Carlos Rodon this season.
Rodon matched a season-high with seven innings pitched on Friday night and the White Sox rallied back to beat the Minnesota Twins 11-4 in front of 20,806 at Target Field. Jose Abreu drove in three runs and Todd Frazier blasted his 35th home run in support of Rodon, who has won four straight decisions. With four or five starts left to make, Rodon could reach the 160-inning mark after pitching 139 1/3 last year.
“I think he’s going through the whole thing,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s getting better as he goes along and this is part of the growing of a guy who’s still young and getting through it. He understands how to go through a whole season. I think it’s important for him where he had a little time off. It has been a good run for him.”
The left-hander wasn’t quite as sharp against the Twins on Friday as he was when he posted a 1.47 ERA in five starts in August. Holding a 1-0 lead, Rodon gave up three straight hits to start the third inning, including a three-run homer by Brian Dozier.
“Dozier has been on me the whole year now,” Rodon said. “I just can’t get him.”
He also surrendered a one-run lead in the fifth after giving up consecutive singles to Byron Buxton and Dozier to open the frame. But Rodon would eventually settle down and retired the last seven batters he faced. He credited catcher Omar Narvaez once again for making a mid-game adjustment that helped him find a rhythm.
With only 79 pitches thrown, Ventura intended to keep Rodon going. But the White Sox offense prevented him from staying in the game with a long eighth inning.
The effort gives Rodon 136 innings this season, which is only 3 1/3 fewer than he had in 2015. Because he had also thrown 10 innings in the minors last season, the White Sox wanted to curb Rodon’s workload and he didn’t pitch in any of the team’s final eight games.
But that won’t be the case this season, Ventura said before the game.
With Miguel Gonzalez returning on Tuesday, the White Sox intend to employ six starting pitchers for at least this turn. Were they to stay with a six-man rotation, Rodon would have at least four turns left. But the team could very easily manipulate the rotation and Rodon may be in line for five more starts. With him averaging nearly six innings per start, Rodon seems destined to surpass the 160 mark, which is fine by him.
“We are trying to build this year,” Rodon said. “Finish out. What do I have five starts left? Finish out strong and next year plan is to get up to 200 innings and let me go hopefully.”
He’d love to have this kind of support to go with those 200 innings.
Rodon -- who allowed four runs (three earned), walked one and struck out four -- entered Friday in the bottom quarter of the majors in average run support.
But for the second time in three starts, the White Sox offense delivered big production for Rodon as they matched a season high in runs and hits.
Trailing 3-1 in the fourth, Frazier blasted a game-tying shot to center off Twins starter Kyle Gibson. It was Frazier's 35th home run of the season and the 34th Frazier has hit while playing third base this season, which is a new franchise record. Bill Melton hit 33 in 1971. Manager Robin Ventura hit 34 in 1996, with 32 coming at third base. As Frazier rounded third, he stared into the dugout at Ventura and then walked over to shake his hands with Ventura nonchalantly acting as if he didn’t see the team’s current third baseman.
The White Sox took a 4-3 lead in the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Melky Cabrera, who finished with three hits and three RBIs. They regained a 5-4 lead in the sixth on a ground-rule double by Carlos Sanchez and scored three times in the eighth and ninth innings.
Abreu had a two-out, two-run single in the eighth to break it open. He has now reached base in 29 consecutive games and upped his RBI total to 79.
“Congratulations to Todd Frazier No. 35,” Rodon said. “Excited to see that one go.
“Yesterday we swung it well and today we were swinging it well. I knew I had to keep them at four and let my offense work and let the guys make plays out there and they did a great job.”