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Carlos Rodon Takes Perfect Game Into Ninth, Pitches No-Hitter

Carlos Rodon Takes Perfect Game Into Ninth, Pitches No-Hitter

Carlos Rodon pitched a no-hitter on Wednesday as the White Sox won 8-0 against the Cleveland Indians.

Rodon’s no-hitter came less than a week after Joe Musgrove pitched the first no-hitter of the 2021 MLB season. It was also the second White Sox no-hitter since the beginning of last season, as Lucas Giolito threw one against the Pittsburgh Pirates last season.

The White Sox selected Rodon with the third overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Rodon had some promising years with the White Sox from 2016-2018, however, they were plagued by injuries. As a result of two major arm surgeries, he pitched only 42 innings since 2018.

The White Sox non-tendered Rodon last offseason, but he signed with the team anyway for $3 million on a one-year deal.

He looked very impressive in his first start against the Mariners this season. In five innings pitched, he allowed just two hits, three walks and no runs while striking out nine. His first start was impressive, but it was nothing compared to his second.

It seemed like the game would be remembered for an offensive juggernaut at the beginning of the game. The White Sox scored six runs in the first inning including a Yermin Mercedes 431 foot three-run home run. This was critical for Rodon’s success, as he said he did not tax his arm early as a result of the big lead. Because of this, his fastball velocity increased as the game went on.

Rodon felt so good that he entered the ninth inning with a perfect game. He was trying to pitch the first perfect game since Felix Hernandez did it in 2012. It would have been the fourth perfect game in White Sox history (the first three being Charlie Robertson, Mark Buehrle and Philip Humber).

Rodon faced Josh Naylor to begin the ninth inning. Naylor hit a chopper in between Rodon and first baseman, Jose Abreu. When Abreu fielded the ball, he knew Rodon had no chance at covering first base. With Naylor hustling as hard as he could Abreu knew he had to make a desperate effort to preserve the perfect game and no-hitter. Abreu took a few steps toward the bag and then leaped while extending his right leg out as far as he could. At the same time, Naylor slid into first base. Luckily for the White Sox, Naylor touched with his left hand rather than his right. If Naylor touched the bag with his right hand, he would have beat Abreu to the bag.

The play was heroic. The crowd went nuts. It sounded and felt like it was at full capacity. The play started to remind fans of the catch that Dewayne Wise made to save Mark Buehrle’s perfect game.

The next batter Rodon faced was Roberto Perez. He had Perez at an 0-2 count and knew it was time to throw his signature backfoot slider. Unfortunately, Rodon has a tendency to hit right-handed batters with that slider, as he hit two batters in his last start against Seattle. That pitch Rodon just missed on the slider and hit Perez on the toe, coming short of a perfect game.

He struck out Yu Chang the next at-bat and made Jordan Luplow ground out to Yoan Moncada to complete the no-hitter. The crowd roared. The celebration was on. Rodon and catcher Zack Collins shared a hug after the game. Zack Collins said after the game that it was his first no-hitter he ever caught. He also said that it was the most incredible thing he has ever been a part of behind the plate. It was the time that Collins ever caught Rodon in a major league game.

The White Sox are now only the second team to have 20 no-hitters. The other team being the Dodgers with 23.

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