- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Carlos Rodon spent most of his first month as a starting pitcher in the majors baffling opposing hitters with borderline electric stuff.

The Chicago White Sox rookie’s joyride ended in Pittsburgh.

Pushed around at the start, Rodon didn’t make it out of the fourth inning of an 11-0 loss on Monday night. The Pirates jumped on Rodon early, scoring five times before Rodon managed to get an out as the White Sox dropped their fourth straight.

“Fastball command wasn’t too great, leaving balls over the plate and balls getting hit,” Rodon said. “It’s a good-hitting club. I mean it’s the big leagues and everybody can hit.”

Just about everyone wearing black did. Pittsburgh posted season highs in hits (18) and runs in its most lopsided victory of the season. While Rodon (2-1) was hardly sharp, Chicago manager Robin Ventura wasn’t ready to place full blame at the feet of a promising prospect who has made all of seven career starts. Rodon gave up seven runs in 3 2-3 innings as his ERA moved from 2.66 to 3.86.

“For a young guy I think everybody has those,” Ventura said. “But after that particularly went well for us. We didn’t do anything good after that. It’s that simple.”

Chicago managed only two singles off Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano (4-5), who struck out 12 and was never in any danger after being staked to an early lead.

“I don’t think (Liriano) threw a ball thigh-high today,” Chicago centerfielder Adam Eaton said. “It was knees and below, and you’re not going to get hurt that way. If you do it’s going to be a couple singles and no harm, no foul.”

Rodon came in having allowed three runs combined in his previous four starts. Pittsburgh topped that in the first inning alone, buoyed a bit by the decision to hire former major leaguer Chris Peters over the weekend to toss some batting practice from the left side to help the team prepare for a stretch in which it will take on lefties in four straight games.

The early returns were promising. Pittsburgh wasted little time attacking Rodon.

Harrison led off with a walk, Marte followed with an infield hit and Andrew McCutchen and Kang laced RBI singles to left. Cervelli, who leads National League catchers in batting average and on-base percentage, then ripped a Rodon offering into the gap in right-center to score two more. Jose Tabata kept it going with a run-scoring single up the middle. By the time Rodon finally recorded an out, the White Sox trailed 5-0.

“We knew what he had done but baseball is different every day,” said Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison, who had four hits. “We had to see what he had and we were able to work counts and get in hitter’s counts and capitalize.”

The outburst came after the Pirates managed all of six runs while sweeping the reeling Phillies over the weekend. Liriano didn’t let the run support go to waste. The White Sox didn’t record a hit until Melky Cabrera’s single leading off the fifth. The inning ended with Pittsburgh’s major-league leading 73rd double play turn of the season.

“We have to stop that,” Ventura said. “You get to a point where you have to be able to put something back on them and push back a little bit and do something offensively and we didn’t do it. We didn’t do it (with) defense, pitching or offense tonight.”


The Pirates signed first-round pick Kevin Newman on Monday. The 21-year-old shortstop will begin his professional career with the West Virginia Black Bears of the New York-Penn League next week.

Newman hit .370 with 19 doubles, 36 RBI and 22 stolen bases for Arizona in 2015 while making the All-Pac 12 team.

“College really taught me how to be time useful, manage my time really well,” he said. “Routine coming into pro ball, routine is key and I’m just looking to continue to add and find my routine here.”


The series continues on Tuesday when Chicago’s Jose Quintana (3-6, 4.00) faces Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton (4-0, 2.05). Quintana has rebounded from a rough opening month of the season, winning each of his last two starts. Morton is unbeaten since returning from hip surgery last month, including 7 1-3 shutout innings in a victory over Milwaukee last Wednesday.


This version of the story corrects to Kevin Newman instead of Ryan Newman.

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