Brantly, Rodon lead White Sox to 7-4 win over Indians
CHICAGO (AP) Soft-spoken rookie Carlos Rodon is quietly on an impressive roll for the White Sox.
Rodon allowed one run through seven innings and Rob Brantly smacked a three-run homer for his first American League hit to lead Chicago past the Cleveland Indians 7-4 on Tuesday night.
Jose Abreu went 3 for 4 - including his 26th homer and a double - to drive in two runs and help the White Sox win for the fifth time in six games. Trayce Thompson also had two RBIs.
Rodon (7-6) scattered five hits, struck out eight and walked one in his sixth straight quality start. He is 3-2 in that span while yielding eight earned runs in his last 41 innings.
''Just being consistent and throwing strikes and trying to get ahead today,'' Rodon said. ''Defensively, they made some good plays for me. It was big and kept me in the game.''
Rodon, a former North Carolina State star drafted third overall in June 2014, is learning he doesn't have to be too fine with major league batters.
''They're good hitters, but sometimes they'll get themselves out,'' he said.
The lefty has put together the recent streak after his ERA peaked at 5.00 on Aug. 5, when he gave up four runs in 4 2-3 innings to Tampa Bay.
''You like to see the improvement, where he's come, like, where he started with us, where he's at now,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ''(He's) continuing to get better, I think, command-wise.''
Rodon also has nasty stuff, said Brantly, who made his second start with the White Sox at catcher.
''It's lights-out. It's a tough guy to face right there,'' he said. ''I'm glad I'm just on the receiving end of it.''
Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer off White Sox reliever Nate Jones in the eighth and pinch-hitter Jose Ramirez added a solo shot against Zach Duke in the ninth. Mike Aviles had three hits and drove in the Indians' other run.
Brantly lined the first pitch he saw in the second inning from Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco (12-10) into the right-field bullpen to put Chicago ahead 3-0.
''Just got a pitch I could handle and took my shot at it and I got a good enough piece of it,'' Brantly said.
Brantly was claimed off waivers from Miami last December and recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Sept. 1.
Carrasco lasted just 2 2-3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks in his first start since Aug. 21. He was on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
Manager Terry Francona wasn't happy with the outcome, but isn't concerned about Carrasco's health.
''No, I mean, he came out of the chute throwing really hard, which was good to see,'' Francona said. ''I just thought he got ambushed by Brantly first pitch and that's three runs, and then Abreu - I thought he hit a pretty good pitch, which he does.
''I thought rather than allow him to work real hard to get through it, let's let him get his feet wet like he did tonight and he'll be fine to go his next outing.''
The game started after a 64-minute delay due to anticipated storms that never amounted to more than light rain. Heavier thunderstorms had moved through the area earlier.
Rodon escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second. He settled in after he was staked to a four-run lead on Brantly's homer in the second and Abreu's solo shot in the third.
Before the game, the even-tempered Ventura made it clear he wants return even though the White Sox are heading toward their third straight losing season.
''Absolutely,'' Ventura said. ''People that think I don't care, that's an unfair assessment. Nobody cares more about how it's going here than I do.''
Chicago hasn't been more than one game above .500 all season, on May 18.
NEED TO PUNCH IT UP
Ventura and GM Rick Hahn agree: Their biggest disappointment this season has been the team's lack off offensive punch, especially after the White Sox acquired hitters like Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera, who haven't produced at past levels.
Hahn said he will make changes, but isn't certain how drastic they'll be.
''This mix hasn't produced at the level we need it to produce at,'' he said. ''You want to take a reasoned approach when you're making a change. You don't want to overreact to the underperformance and try to change too much and therefore create more problems.''
Indians: CF Abraham Almonte was a late scratch from the lineup with folliculitis, a skin inflammation, near his left armpit. ... Rookie INF Francisco Lindor was held out of the starting lineup after playing through a minor illness Monday. He pinch-hit in the eighth.
White Sox: C Tyler Flowers (left hand) and LaRoche (right knee tendinitis) missed the game and are day to day. ... Chicago recalled speedy INF Micah Johnson from Triple-A Charlotte. He was available off the bench.
Indians RHP Josh Tomlin (4-1, 2.55 ERA) faces Jeff Samardzija (9-11, 4.87) in the series finale Wednesday night. Tomlin has made five starts for Cleveland this season - winning the last four - after coming back from shoulder surgery. Samardzija won his most recent start on Sept. 3, but was 0-6 in August. He's 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA against the Indians this year.