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Learning on the job, Rodon keeps Tigers in check

Rookie gives up two homers but strikes out seven in no-decision

DETROIT -- The Tigers had their first look at Carlos Rodon during the White Sox 10-inning 8-7 victory at Comerica Park Thursday afternoon and didn't seem overly enthralled with the wipeout slider he was featuring. If nothing else, they at least had to be impressed with the pitch.

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Rodon struck out seven, with the punchout pitch being the slider in each instance, and that total included Miguel Cabrera on two occasions. But at 104 pitches over just five innings, the rookie would have traded a few of those strikeouts for greater overall efficiency.

"Pitch count was a little high. I wish I could have gone a little longer, but we played well and we hit the ball, so that's great," said Rodon, who allowed four runs on eight hits over five innings, while walking three. "That's all I can do is to go as long as I can to try and keep the lead or keep it tied. Let the bats do the work, and they'll take it from there."

"This is a good hitting team," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the Tigers. "[Rodon] gave up a couple of homers. But for him to pitch against these guys ... I thought he really showed some stuff getting back in there. He just continues to impress."

Ian Kinsler homered on a first-pitch fastball in the first, and J.D. Martinez launched a two-run shot off of a first-pitch slider in the fifth. Detroit certainly had its chances, putting at least two runners on base in all five innings against Rodon.

Showing the maturity of a veteran, though, Rodon kept it close and helped the White Sox remain in front. His next start comes on Wednesday in St. Louis, against the best team in baseball.

"We won, so that's the biggest thing. I'm happy with that. But just the whole time I felt like I was battling," said Rodon of Thursday's no-decision. "I just wish I would have been quicker with the outs and command the zone a little better.

"Just on to the next. You have to forget about what happened the day before. If you threw bad or threw well, it doesn't matter. Now it's getting ready for this next start and give my team the chance to win. That's the biggest thing."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast.
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