White Sox top Angels on Rios' walk-off blast

835085.png

White Sox top Angels on Rios' walk-off blast

Alex Rios got the White Sox headed in the right direction on Friday night. Then he sent them home.

The White Sox right fielder delivered a game-winning two-run home run to lift the White Sox to an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels in front of 32,060 at U.S. Cellular Field. Rios second homer of the game and 18 th this season was the White Sox first walkoff of the season.

Matt Thornton (4-6) earned the victory as the White Sox bullpen combined for 4 13 shutout innings.

Rios homered just over the leap of Angels center fielder Mike Trout with pinch-runner Jordan Danks aboard.

Fridays contest got out to a slow start when Angels manager Mike Scioscia protested a call in the first inning. Scioscia believed Paul Konerko ran inside the base line on a potential double play and argued the call for five minutes to no avail. Konkerko reached on a fielders choice on the play and reloaded the bases.

The White Sox took advantage of the delay against a cold Greinke to rally from a 1-0 deficit. Rios tied the game with an RBI single -- though Adam Dunn was thrown out at the plate on the play. A.J Pierzynski followed with a three-run homer -- his 19th -- to give the Sox a 4-1 lead.

White Sox starting pitcher Philip Humber didnt hang on to the lead for very long.

He walked Angels catcher with two outs in the second inning and Mike Trout followed with a two-run homer to make it 4-3. An inning later, Humber walked Kendry Morales and Alberto Callaspo with two outs and gave up RBI singles to Howie Kendrick and Maicer Izturis to give the Angels the lead.

All six runs given up by Humber -- who allowed 10 hits and four walks in 5 23 innings -- came with two outs. Albert Pujols homered with two outs in the sixth to put the Angels ahead 6-4.

Greinke also had trouble maintaining the lead.

The right-hander, whom the White Sox tried to acquire before the Milwaukee Brewers traded him to the Angels last Friday, settled down after he allowed two singles in the second inning. He retired 11 of 12 batters into the sixth inning until Rios hit a solo homer -- his 17th -- to cut the lead in half. Greinke then allowed the White Sox to tie the game in the seventh when Alejandro De Aza had an RBI ground-rule double to score Alexei Ramirez.

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets here]

The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”

Preview: White Sox host Yankees tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox host Yankees tonight on CSN

The White Sox take on the New York Yankees tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: James Shields (1-1, 4.26 ERA) vs. Luis Cessa (0-2, 6.57 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.