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Rodon flirts with no-hitter, strikes out eight

MLB.com @scottmerkin

ANAHEIM -- The Angels entered Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the White Sox with season-long problems against left-handed pitchers. White Sox southpaw Carlos Rodon having great stuff and a complete repertoire at his disposal didn't help that issue.

But in analyzing Rodon's dominant performance, one fact needs to be made clear.

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ANAHEIM -- The Angels entered Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the White Sox with season-long problems against left-handed pitchers. White Sox southpaw Carlos Rodon having great stuff and a complete repertoire at his disposal didn't help that issue.

But in analyzing Rodon's dominant performance, one fact needs to be made clear.

View Full Game Coverage

"Well we have to start from the beginning. He didn't throw any strikes in the 'pen," said a smiling Omar Narvaez of his batterymate's pregame warmup.

"No, not at all," Rodon confirmed. "Sometimes it goes like that. When you step on the mound, it seems to turn on."

Rodon carried a no-hitter into the sixth, before Andrelton Simmons broke it up with a two-out ground single to center. He settled for two runs allowed over 7 2/3 innings, producing his third straight quality start and the White Sox second straight win in Anaheim to open this four-game series. Jeanmar Gomez had to provide a little eighth-inning help after the Angels scored twice, retiring Justin Upton on a popup to shortstop Tim Anderson to strand the bases loaded.

Video: CWS@LAA: Gomez gets Upton, leaves the bases full

Los Angeles' offense carried a .219 average against lefties, the worst in baseball, and a .661 OPS, the fourth-worst in baseball, entering Tuesday. Rodon mixed a fastball topping out at 97.4 mph with a good changeup and slider to neutralize the Angels. He struck out eight and walked three, getting seven swinging strikes on his slider and two off of his changeup. Rodon was even good enough to strike out Mike Trout twice after walking him in the first.

"Everything was working well," said Rodon, who threw 67 of his 111 pitches for strikes. "Days like today, they don't happen often. Sometimes you don't have the changeup or the slider. It was a good day."

"He looks free and easy. We were talking about it on the bench," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He looks like he's feeling pretty good. He took us pretty deep into the ballgame, going in there and taking a no-hitter deep into the game. He did a nice job. We made some nice plays behind him. We were able to score some runs and come out on top."

Over his last 21 innings, covering three starts, Rodon has allowed four runs on 10 hits. He has struck out 21 and walked 11.

Video: CWS@LAA: Anderson scores on Abreu's bases-loaded walk

There wasn't big support from the White Sox offense, but then again, Rodon didn't need much. They scored two in the third off of Felix Pena on Jose Abreu's bases-loaded walk and Avisail Garcia's sacrifice fly and added a third on Yoan Moncada's 13th home run in the seventh. Nicky Delmonico completed the scoring with an eighth-inning RBI single, scoring Matt Davidson, who had doubled.

Video: CWS@LAA: Moncada crushes a solo homer to right-center

They had to hang on during a bottom half of the eighth, when reliever Juan Minaya walked Trout with the bases loaded to force in a run. But Joakim Soria's 16th save sealed Rodon's fourth quality start in his last five trips to the mound.

"We changed it with Minny. He was a little erratic," said Renteria of the eighth inning escape with a two-run lead. "Instead of allowing that to just continue to fall apart, Gomey has been around a while. He has experience in those situations. He's calm. Fortunately today, we got the result we needed for that out and got out of there."

Video: CWS@LAA: Soria freezes Valbuena to earn 16th save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Saving the no-no: Kole Calhoun made a bid to end Rodon's no-hitter with a soft line drive to right leading off the sixth. But Garcia ran in and grabbed the ball off of his shoe tops for the first out of the frame.

Video: CWS@LAA: Avisail Garcia sprints in for a great grab

Let Trout lead off: The Angels had a chance to challenge Rodon's command in the sixth inning after a two-out walk to David Fletcher and Simmons' no-hit breaking single to center. Fletcher raced around to third and beat Adam Engel's throw, but Simmons, on an ill-advised attempt to get to second with Trout on deck, slipped between first and second. He was thrown out trying to get back to first, from Engel to Yolmer Sanchez to Abreu.

Video: CWS@LAA: Rodon loses no-hitter, Engel nabs Simmons

SOUND SMART
The White Sox posted their first back-to-back wins at Angel Stadium since May 16-17, 2013.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Trout is 0-for-7 lifetime against Rodon with five strikeouts and three walks.

Video: CWS@LAA: Rodon freezes Trout for 4th strikeout

HE SAID IT
"I remember walking Trout but I didn't want him to do any damage. Good hitter, man. Tough to pitch to." -- Rodon, on his first inning walk to quite possibly the game's most talented player

UP NEXT
James Shields (4-11, 4.26) is scheduled to make his 23rd appearance (22nd start) of the season, 10th (ninth) on the road and first against the Angels in Wednesday night's contest with a 9:07 p.m. CT scheduled first pitch. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs starts for the Angels. Shields is 0-6 with a 5.40 ERA over his last eight games (seven starts) on the road. He last won on the road on Opening Day at Kansas City.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Carlos Rodon