Pitching, defense get it done for White Sox in win over Cubs

The Chicago White Sox pitched great and fielded the ball flawlessly in a 2-0 win over Toronto Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.

The hitting woes continued against the Blue Jays, but excelling in two out of three critical parts of the game worked out pretty well.

So well, in fact, the Sox executed the same game plan against the Chicago Cubs Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Once again, the final result was favorable.

"We've got great arms," Carlos Rodon said after allowing 2 hits in 6 innings in the White Sox' 1-0 win over the Cubs. "These guys have been here before. Defensively, we're playing well, too, and those things help when you get scoreless innings."

Rodon and relievers Jake Petricka, Zach Duke and David Robertson combined for a 3-hit shutout and 12 strikeouts.

Through a surge of 8 wins in 10 games, the Sox have gotten solid starting efforts from Rodon, Saturday starter Chris Sale, Sunday starter Jose Quintana, Jeff Samardzija and even John Danks.

"You don't see too many teams that do well that don't have a good rotation," catcher Tyler Flowers said. "I'm definitely a believer in it and I take a lot of pride in that aspect, too. That's a big part. If we don't have guys throwing the ball well starting for us, it'd be pretty challenging, especially the way the offense hasn't been clicking yet.

"They're going to be a huge part of it down the stretch. We've got to get the offense to come and the defense is playing well, we have to keep that rolling."

After the Sox turned 5 double plays against the Cubs, manager Robin Ventura said it was the best defensive game his team has played "probably in a couple years."

For as good as Rodon was, he was also erratic with 6 walks. Getting double plays in each of the first four innings helped his cause.

"They kept me in the game," Rodon said. "Those quick double plays kept the pitch count down and without that, I'd probably be done by the fourth or something."

Second baseman Carlos Sanchez was involved in the first two double plays, and he also made a nice diving catch on Chris Coghlan's line drive to end the game.

Third baseman Tyler Saladino played well defensively in his major-league debut, the Sox turned an unusual 9-2-6 double play and shortstop Alexei Ramirez came up with a standout fielding play in the second inning to start another double play.

"It's always important to try to play good defense, especially when you're in close games," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "The defense, you're giving your team and the pitchers an opportunity to win every time. Today was a good day for us, Avi (Garcia) made a very good play in right field, Alexei. It was key for us today for us to win this game.

"Every time you can play good defense, you're giving the best chance to your team to win the game."


If the Sox (40-44) can find a way to win the next two against the Cubs, they might not return from the All-Star break as sellers.

"I'm not in all of that," Ventura said. "I'm focused on what these guys are doing and how they're doing it to prepare to play every day. We put ourselves in a situation where we're basically the underdogs. I want them to semi-embrace it and let it all hang out and play."

Dream realized: Saladino joins Chicago White Sox

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