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Rodon shines, Fulmer struggles in twin bill

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- As soon as Carlos Rodon's quality start was completed for the White Sox in their 7-6, Game 1 victory over the Twins Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, the southpaw set himself up with a mission for Game 2.

Rodon wanted to watch Carson Fulmer in action. The No. 11 White Sox prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, had been called up as the 26th man to work the doubleheader nightcap before returning to Triple-A Charlotte.

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CHICAGO -- As soon as Carlos Rodon's quality start was completed for the White Sox in their 7-6, Game 1 victory over the Twins Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, the southpaw set himself up with a mission for Game 2.

Rodon wanted to watch Carson Fulmer in action. The No. 11 White Sox prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, had been called up as the 26th man to work the doubleheader nightcap before returning to Triple-A Charlotte.

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Unfortunately for Rodon and the rest of the White Sox, they didn't have much time to study the right-hander. Fulmer threw a perfect first inning on seven pitches but never got out of a six-run second during the Twins' 10-2 victory.

Fulmer had his moments even in the troublesome second, getting Kennys Vargas swinging way out in front with a 2-0 changeup. But his location was poor, as shown by a changeup launched by Jorge Polanco for a three-run homer and a fastball crushed by Brian Dozier seemingly pretty much center cut for another three-run shot.

Video: MIN@CWS: Fulmer retires Mauer in return to Majors

"I fell behind quite a bit, and when I made a mistake, I paid for it," said Fulmer, who was replaced by Dylan Covey after hitting the 48-pitch mark. "The only thing I can do now is continue to work, learn from this experience, and when I get the opportunity to do something like this again, I take full advantage of it."

A lesson could be learned from Rodon, who has gone through his share of up-and-down moments over three big league seasons. But in that Game 1 victory, Rodon struck out nine and walked three while allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings.

He has put together five straight quality starts against postseason contenders Minnesota, Houston, the Dodgers, the Red Sox and the Indians. Those starts came after he struck out 11 over four innings in a loss to the National League Central-leading Cubs on July 25.

Video: MIN@CWS: Renteria on the blowout loss to the Twins

Rodon and Fulmer are separated by one draft class, with Rodon going third overall in 2014 and Fulmer selected at No. 8 in '15. A healthy Rodon looks more like a top-of-the-rotation starter with each trip to the mound, mentioning how he needs to work in the changeup more next start, as it was erratic on Monday.

The future role for Fulmer isn't quite as defined, although his confidence hasn't wavered after Monday or his 5.61 ERA posted as a starter with Charlotte. He will be with the White Sox again, whether it's as a September callup or in Spring Training 2018.

"He's a part of us," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "His fastball got it up to 94 and 95 today, with variances in his secondary pitches that was pretty good. He slowed down his gathering in his delivery. He was very quick when he first started, and now he's slowed it down, has it a little more under control. The rest is getting back out there and continuing to compete and seeing what he needs to do to get Major League hitters out."

Added Fulmer, "Once you get up here with these experienced hitters you make a mistake and you pay for it. It's about minimizing those mistakes and having success."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Carson Fulmer, Carlos Rodon