CHICAGO (AP) — As the Chicago White Sox conclude a fourth straight losing season, a couple of 23-year-olds provided some optimism for the future Friday night.
Carlos Rodon tied an AL record by striking out the first seven batters and Tim Anderson finished a double shy of the cycle in a 7-3 victory over the Twins. It was Minnesota’s 103rd loss, the most since the franchise moved from Washington in 1960.
Rodon never gave them a chance.
The lefty, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, fanned Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco and Robbie Grossman on sliders in the first. He got Miguel Sano on a fastball, Kennys Vargas on a changeup and saw Eduardo Escobar chase a slider in the dirt in the second.
When John Ryan Murphy was caught looking at a 97 mph fastball to lead off the third, Rodon tied the AL record for strikeouts to start a game set by Joe Cowley of the White Sox on May 28, 1986, at Texas.
“You’ve just got to throw strikes, go right at them,” Rodon said.
Logan Schafer’s ensuing double left Rodon one strikeout shy of the major league record to start a game shared by the Astros’ Jim Deshaies and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom.
Rodon’s strikeout streak was 10 when figuring in the final three hitters he faced while fanning 11 in a victory Sunday at Cleveland. The last pitcher to strike out 10 in a row was Eric Gagne of the Dodgers over four games in May 2003.
Tyler Duffey (9-12) gave up five runs in two-plus innings to ensure Minnesota won’t have a 10-game winner in their miserable season.
“You kind of get what you deserve,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Duffey gave up six hits while getting six outs. Omar Narvaez hit his first career homer in the fourth off Pat Dean as the White Sox built a 7-0 lead.
Anderson, the 17th overall pick in 2013, finished a double shy of the cycle and irritated Duffey after hitting a two-run homer in the third inning.
“I mean he backpedaled out of the box. Stood there and enjoyed it,” Duffey said. “It’s just one of those things. It’s one thing to hit a homer. I gave up a 500-foot homer to Nelson Cruz and he jogs around the bases.”
Ryan O’Rourke threw behind Anderson in the eighth and both benches were warned. Anderson then grounded to third to end his chances at the cycle. He tripled and scored in the first and singled in the sixth.
“I wanted to hit a double. I did it in Double-A,” Anderson said. “When everything is clicking for you, I feel real great.”
Rodon (9-10) was dominant until a 31-pitch sixth inning when he gave up three runs — two earned — to end his night. He allowed three hits and three walks while striking out 10 in Chicago’s sixth win in seven games.
“This was some electric stuff coming out,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He was up there at 98 (mph), but I think that slider, when he has that working, it’s a devastating two-strike pitch. He can get some swings and misses, that’s for sure.”
Twins: 1B Joe Mauer (quadriceps) remained out. … Molitor said veteran C Kurt Suzuki “has taken a beating” and won’t catch again this season. Suzuki is in the last year of his contract. “It’s probably been as awkward a month for him as anybody in that clubhouse when you’re potentially playing out into your free agency as a catcher in your early 30s,” Molitor said.
White Sox: Tests showed 2B Tyler Saladino has a herniated disk. He had an epidural Monday and doesn’t believe he’ll need surgery. “It was kind of crippling for a little bit,” he said.
Rodon finished 7-2 in his last 10 starts. He struggled early in the season and went on the disabled list after spraining his left wrist slipping on the dugout steps.
“It was definitely the best stuff-wise of having it all – fastball, slider, mix in a change,” Ventura said. “I think that’s just a big confidence boost for him of getting to that point where he can do that.”
White Sox RHP James Shields (6-18, 5.82 ERA) closes a tough season Saturday night against Twins LHP Hector Santiago (12-10, 4.87).