White Sox

Red Sox steamroll White Sox

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Red Sox steamroll White Sox

CHICAGO (AP) Kevin Youkilis hit a grand slam, Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered twice and the Boston Red Sox roughed up Philip Humber in a 10-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.Youkilis, mired in an early-season slump, hit his second career slam into the right-field bullpen during a five-run third inning against Humber, who was making his first start since pitching a perfect game in a 4-0 victory at Seattle on Saturday.There was no such suspense Thursday. Humber walked leadoff batter Mike Aviles in the first, snapping his streak of 29 straight batters retired.One out later, the right-hander allowed a single to Dustin Pedroia, a dribbler up the third-base line that was the first hit off Humber since Nick Markakis' one-out double for Baltimore in the fifth inning of the Orioles' 10-4 victory at Chicago on April 16.Humber was tagged for a career-high nine runs and eight hits in five innings. The nine earned runs he allowed after his perfect game were a record, topping the eight given up by Jim "Catfish" Hunter after his perfecto for Oakland in 1968.Johnny Vander Meer remains the only major league pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters, accomplishing the feat in 1938 with Cincinnati.The resurgent Red Sox have scored 34 runs in winning their last four games, a streak coming on the heels of a five-game skid.Adrian Gonzalez followed Pedroia with an RBI double, and David Ortiz added a run-scoring single to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.After throwing just 96 pitches to complete his masterpiece, Humber twice needed more than 30 pitches to get through an inning. He threw 92 pitches over the first four innings.Saltalamacchia followed Youkilis' slam with a home run just inside the right-field foul pole. He added a two-run shot in the fifth off Humber, his fourth homer of the season.Humber followed up his best game with perhaps his worst, allowing three walks and three homers. His ERA rose from 0.63 to 4.66.Youkilis singled and scored in the fifth and added an infield single in the eighth. His three hits, two runs and four RBIs were an encouraging sign for a hitter that entered the game batting just .204. The grand slam was his second homer of the season and just his second over his last 28 games dating to Aug. 14, 2011.Boston starter Felix Doubront (1-0) wasn't sharp but picked up his first big league win since Aug. 10, 2010. He allowed five hits and three walks, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter with a pitch, but limited the White Sox to three runs in six innings.Chicago's Dayan Viciedo broke out of a 1-for-16 slump with two hits, including a leadoff homer in the fourth. All three of his RBIs this season have come on solo homers.NOTES: Andre Rienzo, a pitcher in the White Sox farm system, was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance. ... Marlon Byrd started in center for the Red Sox in his first game in Chicago since being acquired from the crosstown Cubs on Saturday. ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he didn't plan to use reliever Jesse Crain out of the bullpen for precautionary reasons. Crain hasn't pitched since April 20 because soreness in his left oblique, but Ventura doesn't expect him to go on the disabled list.Up

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.”