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Yoan Moncada needed a day like today. In fact, his day was so good that he may not have needed all of it.
Moncada drove in a career-high six runs with two big hits. His bases-clearing double in the fifth inning gave the White Sox the lead, and his three-run homer in the sixth inning put the Sox cemented the rout and secured a split.
As a result, Carlos Rodon picked up his first win of the year, a fine reward for his eight walkless innings.
Through the first four innings, this looked like the typical quiet 2018 Sox loss, with Rodon on the wrong end of it. Paul Blackburn carried an 8.00 ERA into this game, but he breezed through the order the first time, allowing just a Yolmer Sanchez single through his first 13 batters. Rodon gave up a sac fly in the second and a solo shot in the fifth to fall behind 2-0.
Tim Anderson started the fifth with a single, but when he was thrown out at second trying to steal — an apparent bad call by D.J. Reyburn that replay didn’t overturn for some reason — it gave the Sox an obstacle they didn’t need. Sanchez then grounded out for the second out.
And yet, somehow they still turned the game on its head before the end of the fifth. Omar Narvaez and Leury Garcia singled, and Adam Engel was clipped by a pitch to load the bases. Up came Moncada, and when Blackburn tried to jam him with a cutter inside on the first pitch, Moncada opened up and lined it to the base of the wall in right for a three-run double that gave the Sox a lead.
Even then, the Sox weren’t done. Avisail Garcia pulled a hanging changeup to left for an RBI single, then took second on a comically bad throw from left. That extra 90 feet paid off, as Garcia scored on Jose Abreu’s single. Abreu tried to manufacture his own 90 feet but was thrown out at second by a considerable margin.
Perhaps the Sox bats stayed hot because Rodon retired the side on eight pitches, but they tacked on another five runs in the sixth. Daniel Palka said hello to Blackburn with a 115-mph homer into the visiting bullpen to start the inning, and Blackburn said goodbye. Reliever Liam Hendriks didn’t offer much help. He struck out Anderson, but gave up his own solo shot to Yolmer Sanchez. Then Narvaez singled, and so did Engel two batters later to turn over the order. Moncada swung through a first-pitch fastball, but worked a count to 3-1. Hendriks grooved a 95 mph fastball, and Moncada sent it over the wall in right for three more RBIs.
Rodon put it on cruise control from there. He made it through eight innings on just 99 pitches, scattering seven hits (including the Canha homer) without walking a batter.
The aftermath of the Canha homer presented the biggest challenge to Rodon. Jonathan Lucroy singled and Franklin Barreto doubled to put runners on second and third with still nobody out. Marcus Semien couldn’t get the runner home, as he grounded out to Sanchez at third. Chad Pinder couldn’t get the runner home, swinging through a high fastball for strike three. Jed Lowrie couldn’t get it done, either, getting jammed by a fastball and popping up meekly to short. Rodon is the one Sox starter who can take command of an inning of that, and the effort paid off.
Rodon’s walkless outing stood in stark contrast to the bullpen’s effort in the ninth inning. Bruce Rondon started the inning by walking Khris Davis on four pitches, and that was the end of his day, despite a rather animated conversation on the mound with Rick Renteria. Xavier Cedeno then walked the first batter he faced. A double play minimized the alarm, but Cedeno issued a third walk, complete with a wild pitch that allowed Davis to score, inflating Rondon’s ERA to 6.75.
*The White Sox have their first month with a double-digit win total.
*Every White Sox in the lineup had a hit, and everybody but Abreu and Anderson scored a run.
*Oakland set a record by homering in its 25th consecutive road game, but the Sox outblasted them 3-1 in that column.
Record: 26-51 | Box score