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Bullpen slips after strong start by Rodon

Left-hander allows two runs in 7 2/3 innings with 6 strikeouts
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon pitched brilliantly Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field, throwing 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball and putting the White Sox in position to win. But a ninth-inning rally by the Blue Jays sunk reliever Jace Fry and the South Siders as Chicago fell, 7-4.

In the White Sox first save opportunity following the Joakim Soria trade, Fry immediately ran into trouble. He served up a game-tying solo homer to Teoscar Hernandez on his second pitch, and then allowed two more baserunners before Jeanmar Gomez gave up the game-winning hit, a two-run double by Brandon Drury.

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CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon pitched brilliantly Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field, throwing 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball and putting the White Sox in position to win. But a ninth-inning rally by the Blue Jays sunk reliever Jace Fry and the South Siders as Chicago fell, 7-4.

In the White Sox first save opportunity following the Joakim Soria trade, Fry immediately ran into trouble. He served up a game-tying solo homer to Teoscar Hernandez on his second pitch, and then allowed two more baserunners before Jeanmar Gomez gave up the game-winning hit, a two-run double by Brandon Drury.

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"Hernandez must've been looking pull on a ball on the inside half, looking to tie the ball game up, and I gave him a pitch to hit," Fry said. "He capitalized on it."

Toronto tacked on two more runs in the ninth, foiling the White Sox attempt at winning the three-game series. The inning spoiled Rodon's third-straight strong start.

Rodon has pitched into the eighth in each of his last three starts, a 22 2/3-inning span in which he's given up just four runs on 10 hits. Since giving up five runs in his June 30 start, Rodon owns a 1.88 ERA and a 27:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

"Once again, [Omar Narvaez] and I were on the same page," Rodon said. "It's been fun, man. Just keep riding this little streak."

"Clearly, he has the stuff," manager Rick Renteria said of Rodon. "He's commanding the strike zone, he's attacking, he's minimizing mistakes, thankfully, as he continues to pitch, and he's a competitor. So he's got the mentality and the heart, and now he seems to be connecting all of that with the ability to execute."

Video: TOR@CWS: Renteria on Rodon's outing, loss to Toronto

Finally healthy after a lengthy recovery from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, Rodon pitched well enough to convince Renteria to let him try to finish the eighth. After walking Luke Maile with one out, Renteria went to the mound in an apparent call to the bullpen, but Rodon remained in the game.

He struck out Randal Grichuk, but gave up an RBI single to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. that brought the Blue Jays within one. Luis Avilan came on to face Justin Smoak, who popped out to end the late threat.

"I think [Renteria] wanted me to stay out there, and I was on page with it," Rodon said. "That's my game. Those guys are out there, and I want to finish that eighth for the boys. It just didn't happen."

Narvaez led the White Sox offense Sunday, collecting two RBIs and two extra-base hits -- including his first career triple and his fourth homer of the year. He finished 3-for-4, a double short of the cycle. Matt Davidson also tallied two base hits, with his sixth-inning single providing Chicago's go-ahead run at the time.

Video: TOR@CWS: Davidson plates Leury with single in the 6th

Daniel Palka added a pinch-hit home run in the ninth, but it proved too little, too late after Fry and Gomez couldn't put the lid on Toronto's rally. Fry said that Hernandez's homer could change the way he approaches hitters in the ninth going forward, if Renteria continues to call upon him.

Video: TOR@CWS: Palka drills a solo homer to center in 9th

"Maybe try to stay away from their power," Fry said. "Maybe working away instead of trying to go hard in. Both the hits were off pitches where I was trying to go hard in, maybe moving forward try to stay away, sink the ball away and changeups out of the zone."

"He's one of those kids that that's not going to affect him," Renteria said. "He's going to learn from today's outing, knowing him. It was a good test for him and it didn't work out. But he certainly has, I think, the stuff to be able to do it."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Rookie record: Gurriel tied the MLB rookie-record for consecutive multi-hit games with his eighth-inning single off Rodon. Gurriel has multiple hits in 11 straight games and finished Sunday 3-for-5, but exited in the ninth after awkwardly avoiding a Tim Anderson tag at second base.

Video: TOR@CWS: Gurriel extends streak, leaves with injury

"He's swinging a good bat," Rodon said. "That barrel stays in the zone for a while, and he hit one of my best sliders there in the eighth to score a run. Hat's off to him."

SOUND SMART
Over his last 25 games, Narvaez is hitting 34-for-81 (a .420 average) with six doubles, one triple, four home runs and 16 RBIs. He has 14 multi-hit efforts in that span, and all four homers have been against right-handed pitchers.

Video: TOR@CWS: Narvaez turns on the jets for 1st MLB triple

HE SAID IT
"If you look at it, [Rodon] was still throwing 97 [mph in the eighth]. He knows when to reach back a little bit. He was working at around 94 [mph], 93-94 [mph] all day in terms of his fastball and then you see a 97 pop up, but he was using breaking balls and his changeup. I mean, his ball's got some late life, hitters don't take really good swings at them, and the balls that they did hit today, I think they were just pitches that were left out over the plate." -- Renteria, on Rodon's stuff Sunday

UP NEXT
The White Sox will have Monday off before beginning a three-game series with the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m CT. James Shields (4-12, 4.53 ERA) will start for the White Sox coming off his shortest outing of the year. He'll try to rebound from a four-inning, six-run performance against the Angels last Wednesday. Danny Duffy (6-9, 4.70) goes for the Royals.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago White Sox, Carlos Rodon