White Sox

Quintana gets first MLB win as Sox pound Indians

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Quintana gets first MLB win as Sox pound Indians

Adam Dunn hit his 15th homer, A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo each went deep for the second time in as many nights, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 9-3 on Friday for their seventh win in eight games.Pierzynski also tripled and scored three runs while driving in two. Viciedo knocked in two runs and scored twice, and the White Sox gave Jose Quintana (1-0) all the support he needed in his first major league start.They used the long ball again to take out the AL Central leaders after hitting five homers Thursday against Minnesota. Dunn drove a two-run shot in the first after Cleveland scored a run in the top half. Pierzynski connected leading off the second, and Chicago broke open a one-run game in the sixth, scoring three times with two outs while chasing Jeanmar Gomez (3-3).Alexei Ramirez knocked him out with an RBI single after Pierzynski and Viciedo walked, and Alejandro De Aza drove in two more runs with a bases loaded single off Jairo Asencio to make it 6-2, sending Cleveland to its third loss in 11 games.The White Sox added three more with two outs in the seventh, with Alex Rios reaching on an error and scoring on Pierzynski's triple and Viciedo hitting a two-run homer.It's not what the Indians envisioned after sweeping a three-game series from Detroit, the team many thought would win the division. But the second-place White Sox are looking good at the moment.They swept the Cubs, took two of three from Minnesota, and they didn't blink with the scheduling taking a tougher turn, pulling within 2 12 games of Cleveland on Friday.The White Sox called up Quintana from Triple-A Charlotte with John Danks going on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left shoulder, and he came through with a solid outing.The 23-year-old left-hander allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. He wasn't quite as dominant against the Indians this time, after pitching 5 2-3 scoreless innings of relief against them in his only other appearance on May 7, but he was good enough.Gomez simply had a rough night, giving up six runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings.Notes:
Cabrera was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth because of tightness in his left hamstring. ... The Indians called up SS Juan Diaz from Double-A Akron and optioned starting pitcher Zach McAllister to Triple-A Columbus. Manager Manny Acta said Diaz will likely be sent back to the minors on Monday, when pitcher Josh Tomlin (sore right wrist) is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL. Tomlin threw a 50-pitch bullpen session Thursday and reported no pain. ... Travis Hafner underwent an MRI on Thursday on his right knee and took an anti-inflammatory for irritation in the meniscus. He did not travel to Chicago. ... White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham made a neat play in the third when he raced back to make a sliding catch on Carlos Santana's foul down the right-field line. ... Jake Peavy starts Saturday for Chicago, with Derek Lowe going for the Indians.

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

As encouraging as the reports are on many of the White Sox’s minor-league pitching prospects, Carlos Rodon’s effort against the Athletics on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field could prove just as significant to the rebuild on the South Side.

Looking much like the ace the Sox envisioned prior to Rodon’s rough 2017 season that ended with shoulder surgery, the left-hander put together his most successful effort of ’18 during a 10-3 drubbing of the Athletics before a sun-drenched crowd of 21,908.

Making his fourth start of the season, Rodon matched a career-high by going eight innings. He yielded two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Rodon earned his first win of the season to help the Sox salvage a split of the four-game series.

“I felt good today—a lot of strikes,” Rodon said. “It was good to go eight and just be ahead of guys.”

Helping matters for Rodon was an offensive explosion by the Sox, led by Yoan Moncada’s career-high six RBIs. After falling behind 2-0, the Sox plated five runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Moncada cleared the bases with a double off the base of the wall in the fifth and launched his 10th home run of the season to drive in three more an inning later.

“Today was a great day,” Moncada said via a team interpreter. “I just went out to play the game the way that I play. Just to have fun. It was a very good game for me.”

Daniel Palka and Yolmer Sanchez also homered as the Sox won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

Rodon was the happy recipient of the run support to win his first game since Aug. 21, 2017, against the Twins. On Sunday, he threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes and was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

“I’m looking to do that every time out,” Rodon said. “Just show up and establish the strike zone with the fastball and be aggressive.”

The 25-year-old’s second-inning strikeout of Khris Davis was the 400th of Rodon’s career. It is a career that is continuing after a surgery that was a setback, but one that did not derail Rodon’s confidence that he would again pitch effectively.

“There are up-and-down days when you go through shoulder surgery or any surgery for any player,” Rodon said. “You've just got to work through it and try to make your way back. I'm here now and it’s looking up and I’m trying to get better.”

So is it reasonable to view Rodon as the future ace after all?

“You certainly can’t discount that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has to go out there and continue to get his feet underneath him and get through the rest of the season healthy and climbing.”

In other Sox pitching news, Renteria said starter Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game due to a hip flexor injury, “felt better” Sunday and the team will continue to monitor the right-hander’s progress.

Meanwhile, veteran Miguel Gonzalez made a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte as he continues to recover from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Gonzalez went three innings and allowed one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights in the game.

Joakim Soria knows he is turning into a valuable trade asset for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Joakim Soria knows he is turning into a valuable trade asset for White Sox

No one knows better than Joakim Soria that the more successful he is as the White Sox’s closer, there is an increased likelihood that the veteran right-hander will be headed out of town at some point.

Soria has not only solidified the back end of the bullpen, the 34-year-old has emerged as perhaps the Sox’s most valuable trade asset to a contending team in need of relief help.

Over this last 14 appearances, Soria has not allowed an earned run and has converted all seven save chances with five hits allowed, two walks and 15 strikeouts.

“My body feels good and my arm feels good,” Soria said before the Sox defeated the Athletics 10-3 on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. “I come to the ballpark expecting to pitch and … I try to be out there and help this team win.”

While the Sox haven’t done a whole lot of winning of late—Sunday’s win was just their second in their last 11 games—when they are victorious it’s accompanied by a Soria save. With the Sox’s rebuild in full swing, Soria understands that general manager Rick Hahn won’t hesitate to flip him in a trade.

“Players say they don’t think about it but you have to think about it,” said Soria, who was acquired from the Royals on Jan. 4 in a three-team trade also involving the Dodgers. “When you have a family with three kids and a wife you have to be prepared for everything. But it’s not like I come to the field thinking about that. It’s just God’s plan and whatever happens it’s a business and you prepare.”

Soria has 215 career saves, including 162 in seven seasons with the Royals, but hadn’t been a full-time closer since notching a combined 24 saves with the Tigers and Pirates. With the Sox, Soria won the closing job over fellow veteran Nate Jones in spring training and has been nearly unhittable in recent weeks.

Over his last 13 2/3 innings pitched, Soria has held opponents to a .109 batting average and sports a 2.89 ERA for the season. He has issued five walks in 28 innings and is averaging 10.29 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

The two-time All-Star has settled in nicely in a Sox clubhouse featuring a mix of veterans and promising talents. Soria has to balance that with the knowledge he might not be around as the season progresses.

“It’s something I can’t control,” Soria said. “I have a really good relationship with these guys and the chemistry with this team is very good. I can’t think outside of the box because (a trade) hasn’t happened yet. You have to keep focused and be ready for today’s game.”