White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon, center, watches from the dugout with Andrew Vaughn, left, and Lucas Giolito against the Houston Astros in the third inning during Game 4 of a baseball American League Division Series Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) | AP Photos
Carlos Rodon allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings
Carlos Correa knocked Carlos Rodon out of the game with a two-run, two-out double on an 0-2 pitch in the third inning, Alex Bregman scored two runs with a double on a 3-0 pitch from Garrett Crochet in the fourth, and the Houston Astros threatened to end the White Sox’ season by taking a commanding 6-1 lead in Game 4 of the American League Division Series at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Needing a win to knot the series at two games apiece and send it to Houston for a deciding game, the Sox were in jeopardy of losing it in four games for their second straight early exit from postseason. The Sox reached the postseason for the second time in a row for the first time, losing the best of three Wild Card series to the Athletics last season.
After two inspiring scoreless innings from left-hander Carlos Rodon, the Sox scored first on designated hitter Gavin Sheets’ solo home run to center field against Astros ace Lance McCullers Jr. in the second. Astros center fielder Jake Meyers injured his right shoulder reaching over the wall and left the game.
Rodon, touching 99 mph in his first start in 13 days, struck out Bregman and Jordan Alvarez with Jose Altuve on third base after Altuve hit Rodon’s first pitch of the game, a 93-mph fastball, into the left field corner for a double.
Touching 99 for the first time since July, Rodon’s sequence of strikeouts had the crowd in a frenzy. Bothered by a sore shoulder much of the second half of the season, Rodon let out a triumphant scream as he came off the mound. In the second inning, Rodon allowed a leadoff single to Correa, then recorded three straight outs.
After striking out Martin Maldonado leading off the third, Rodon hit Altuve on the elbow pad with a pitch and loaded the bases with two outs by walking Alex Bregman and Jordan Alvarez, setting up Correa’s big blow giving the Astros a 2-1 lead.
Maldonado’s RBI single, a liner up the middle that made Kopech duck out of the way, scored Kyle Tucker to make it 3-1, and Bregman’s double made it 5-1 Astros. Brantley’s two-out single against Aaron Bummer scored Chas McCormick, who had replaced Meyers in center field. The Astros stole three bases on Rodon and Kopech and catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Rodon was charged with two runs and Michael Kopech, who replaced Rodon, was charged with three runs. Manager Tony La Russa said Monday that Kopech, who had thrown 47 pitches in the Sox’ 12-6 win in Game 3, would not be available.
McCullers was pulled after four innings and 73 pitches.
The Sox’ starting rotation had the best ERA in the AL this season, but Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease and Rodon allowed 14 runs lasting only 12 1/3 innings for a 10.22 ERA in four starts.
The Astros stole three bases on
Center fielder Luis Robert left the game in the sixth with right leg tightness.
The Astros led 6-1 in the seventh inning. A victory would put them in the ALCS to face the Red Sox, a series that would start Friday in Houston.