CHICAGO -- Left-hander Carlos Rodon continued his impressive run with 6 1/3 strong innings and was backed by a three-run homer from Yolmer Sanchez and a solo shot from Jose Abreu in a 7-6 win over the Twins in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field.The Twins rallied
CHICAGO -- Left-hander Carlos Rodon continued his impressive run with 6 1/3 strong innings and was backed by a three-run homer from Yolmer Sanchez and a solo shot from Jose Abreu in a 7-6 win over the Twins in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Twins rallied in the eighth with a three-run homer from Jorge Polanco off lefty Derek Holland after a 19-minute rain delay, but it wasn't enough. The loss snapped Minnesota's four-game winning streak and dropped the Twins a half-game behind the Angels for the second AL Wild Card spot, pending their outcome against the Rangers and Game 2 of the Twins-White Sox twin bill.
Rodon surrendered two runs on four hits and three walks with nine strikeouts to improve to 2-4 with a 3.88 ERA. He's posted a 2.25 ERA over his past five starts with 37 strikeouts in 36 innings against the Indians, Red Sox, Astros, Dodgers and Twins. He reached as high as 97.2 mph with his fastball in the seventh, and recorded 12 swings and misses, including six with his slider. He gave up a run in the first on an RBI single from Eduardo Escobar and a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Eddie Rosario.
"I want to come out in the first and second with that kind of velocity," Rodon said. "It takes a little time right now. It's a thing, right now, I'll work on and try to get it going.
"There's still stuff to work on. There's stuff I need to get better at and more strikes, more command and trying to get back to that no walk thing."
"He feels himself getting a little better, middle of the game," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He's loosened up more, feels like he can command the zone a lot better. His stuff starts to show a little bit more life. We're trying to figure out what we can do to start that a little sooner."
Right-hander Tim Melville made his Twins debut in a spot start, allowing five runs over 3 1/3 innings. He was hurt by a two-run single from Avisail Garcia in the second and a three-run homer from Sanchez in the fourth. Chicago scored twice in the fifth against reliever Nik Turley with Abreu hitting his 25th homer of the year. It was the fourth straight season Abreu reached 25 homers, making him the first player in White Sox history to do so in each of his first four seasons.
"I just need to work on my rhythm and timing," Melville said. "You have to make the adjustments quick or bad could things could happen. They did today, but some good things did, too. So I just need to continue to work on things in my next start."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Garcia gives White Sox early lead: The Twins scored on Escobar's RBI single in the first, but Chicago struck back with a two-run single from Garcia with two outs in the bottom of the inning. With one out, it appeared the Twins conceded a run with the infield back, but Yoan Moncada didn't break for home on a routine grounder to first. Garcia, though, made sure it didn't matter with a two-run single into center.
Sanchez pads the lead: The White Sox were up by a run in the fourth before Sanchez connected on a three-run shot to center after Nicky Delmonico walked and Garcia singled to open the inning. It was Sanchez's career-high sixth of the year, and traveled a projected 404 feet, per Statcast™. Sanchez would finish with a season-high four RBIs, his most since -- coincidentally -- Aug. 21, 2015.
"I tried to go in but threw it over the plate," Melville said. "If you do that here, the ball is going to go a long way. I just need to locate the pitches down in the zone."
"I wouldn't say I wanted to be down there [in the Minors], but it was fun to be with those guys: Moncada, Nicky and Gio [Lucas Giolito] and Lopey [Reynaldo Lopez] and [Carson] Fulmer. It was fun watching those guys. A lot of those guys I was down there with are up here now. It's fun to come up with them a little bit. It was good to be down there and watch them. It's time to watch them grow up and play in the big leagues." -- Rodon, on the White Sox youth movement
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Delmonico reached safely with his walk in the fourth, becoming the first White Sox player to reach base in 17 of his first 18 games since Eddie Malone in 1949.
Twins Right-hander Kyle Gibson (6-10, 6.95 ERA) is set to start for the Twins in the third game of the five-game series Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Gibson lasted four innings last time out, allowing three runs on seven hits against the Indians.
White Sox: The White Sox will send No. 6 prospect and MLB Pipeline No. 59 prospect Giolito to the mound Tuesday for the third of what will be five games in four days against the Twins. Giolito, acquired last offseason as part of the Adam Eaton deal with the Nationals, will be making his team debut.
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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.