HOUSTON -- Carlos Rodon could have done without the six walks issued during Houston's 4-3 walk-off victory over the White Sox on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.
But even with the White Sox southpaw walking six in a start for the fourth time in his career, matching a career high, he held the Astros to just two runs over six innings. Rodon did so in a start against Justin Verlander and in front of a crowd of 34,995 hanging on basically every pitch.
"Yeah, that'll get me geeked up a little bit," Rodon said of pitching against Verlander. "But no, it was good to be out there, man. It's fun when you've got a crowd like that and you're playing a team that just won the World Series.
"It was a battle today. We had to throw some big pitches, and we had some double plays. The defense picked me up. It was just one of those days where you've got to fight."
Houston put two runners on base in five of the six innings worked by Rodon, but the only runs allowed came via a long Jose Altuve home run with one out in the fifth. Rodon struck out six and allowed five hits, throwing 58 of his 109 pitches for strikes.
Rodon recorded four swinging strikes and six called strikes among his 27 sliders thrown, per Statcast™, making it an important pitch in his sixth trip to the mound this season in coming back from season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery performed last September.
"There were some good sliders for strikes that bailed me out today and I kind of found that," Rodon said. "Piece by piece, it's starting to come together. I wish I had it all ready, but it's coming around."
"Oh, yeah. He's filthy," said White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez of Rodon. "Whatever he throws, he's pretty filthy. He wasn't hitting his spots today, but he showed a lot."
• Narvaez catches pitch with chest protector
Five White Sox pitchers combined to walk nine, a noticeable blemish on an otherwise well-played game by the visitors. Only one of those walks came around to score -- pinch-hitter Tony Kemp, who drew a leadoff free pass from closer Joakim Soria in the ninth.
George Springer singled home the tying run, ending Soria's scoreless-innings streak at 15 1/3 and his consecutive-saves streak at eight, and Yuli Gurriel drove home the game-winner with a single to right as the fifth hitter in six batters to reach off of Soria. Leury Garcia homered in the eighth to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead.
"We lost the game. That's the only thing that matters. I didn't execute my pitches when I needed and the result was a loss," said Soria, who allowed his first run since May 26. "I walked the first guy and it always hurts when you walk a guy you cannot walk. After that, they have good at-bats and they ended up hitting the ball where they needed."
"Joakim has been unbelievable this season," Rodon said. "He's out there competing, and they just got the job done."
Verlander yielded one hit over the first five innings, before Narvaez, who had that hit, homered leading off the sixth. Yoan Moncada singled two outs later and came around to score on Yolmer Sanchez's double to left center.
Houston outscored the White Sox by a 27-2 margin during a three-game sweep in Chicago from April 20-22. So even in falling to a season-high 27 games under .500 (30-57), the White Sox are already off to a better start against the Astros this series.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walk no further: After issuing walks to Tyler White and Max Stassi with one out in the sixth, Rodon received a mound visit from pitching coach Don Cooper upon going 2-0 on Jake Marisnick. Those words of wisdom paid off, as Rodon threw a strike on the next pitch and induced an inning-ending double play started by Sanchez.
Holding steady:Juan Minaya, Xavier Cedeno and Bruce Rondon got the White Sox through the eighth despite a leadoff walk issued to Gurriel before he reached third with one out. Josh Reddick's grounder to first baseman Jose Abreu off of Cedeno resulted in Gurriel being thrown out at the plate, and Rondon struck out White to strand Reddick at second.
Avisail Garcia's 14-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4 effort.
Shortstop Tim Anderson was replaced in the bottom of the eighth inning after he was hit by a Chris Devenski pitch on the left forearm in the top of the frame. White Sox manager Rick Renteria said more would be known Friday about the shortstop's condition.
"We obviously had to remove him. He's pretty lean and got hit flush pretty much on the upper forearm," Renteria said. "It's always the next day, the aftereffects of a blow right now. We'll evaluate him tomorrow, day to day."
HE SAID IT
"Nothing. He got hit." -- Renteria, on what he saw different from Soria on this rough night, after Soria had allowed one unearned run over his previous 18 appearances.
Reynaldo Lopez gets the Game 2 call for the White Sox for a 7:10 p.m. CT first pitch on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Lance McCullers makes the start for Houston. Lopez will be making his 18th start of the season, 11th on the road and second against the Astros.