SEATTLE (AP) - Yermín Mercedes extended his early tear with three more hits, Carlos Rodon struck out nine and the Chicago White Sox held the Seattle Mariners to three hits in a 6-0 victory Monday night.
Mercedes is the first player since at least 1900 to total 12 hits in his first four career starts - all in the first week of this season. He also was the first player since at least 1900 to start a season 8 for 8. The 28-year-old designated hitter is up to 12 of 18.
“The really good hitters don’t throw at-bats away,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “If they come to bat 10 times, they give themselves a chance 10 times and they get three hits. … He does that with his talent. It’s all about what’s next.”
Yasmani Grandal hit his 150th homer, driving in three runs and scoring twice to help Chicago snap a two-game skid.
“Not too many people get to hit 150 homers in the big leagues,” the catcher said. “Hopefully we can get 150 more. We’ll see.”
Rodon (1-0) allowed two hits over five innings in his first appearance of the season. Michael Kopech followed with five strikeouts over two innings, allowing a walk and a hit, and José Ruiz closed it out with two perfect innings.
Rodon and Kopech became the first White Sox teammates to strike out at least five in the same game without giving up a run. Chicago pitchers struck out all nine Mariners batters at least once and Rodon said it gets worse for the Mariners, who face White Sox ace Lucas Giolito on Tuesday.
“It’s not exactly fair,” Rodon said. “This staff is very, very impressive.”
Rodon wasn’t totally sharp. He allowed a runner to reach third with an errant pickoff attempt, walked three consecutive batters in the fourth inning for Seattle’s most significant scoring threat and hit two batters with pitches. But the outing showed promise.
“He just continues to improve, doesn’t he?” La Russa said. “You think about his first bullpen to his first batting practice to his first game. And now every time he goes out there, he’s taking another couple steps forward.
“It means a lot of important things for us going down from here to October.”
Left-hander Justus Sheffield (0-1) allowed six runs - four earned - and eight hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out five. He was stung by third baseman Kyle Seager’s fourth-inning bobble of a potential double-play ball on a grounder by Grandal.
“We didn’t help him out at all with our defense,” manager Scott Servais said. “The ball is going to be put in play on the ground and, you know, it happens. Guys are going to make errors and that’s part of the game.”
The White Sox scored three runs in the inning with RBIs from Andrew Vaughn and Billy Hamilton. They added two more in the fifth on Grandal’s two-run single.
It was the 16th consecutive win for Chicago against left-handed starters, tying the 1963 Baltimore Orioles for the second-longest streak in major league history. Only the 2004-05 Atlanta Braves have a longer winning streak against lefties with 18.
The White Sox last lost to a lefty in September 2019, going 14-0 in 2020 to become the first team to finish a season undefeated against either right- or left-handed pitchers.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson is unlikely to play in the series because of a pulled hamstring. Results of an MRI showed an injury that should heal quickly, La Russa said, and Anderson will be re-evaluated Thursday. Anderson got hurt running out a grounder in the first inning Sunday at the Los Angeles Angels.
Mariners: OF Kyle Lewis took another step in his recovery from a deep bone bruise in his right knee when he started hitting in the batting cages under the stadium. Servais doesn’t expect the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year back in the lineup until the middle of April. “We want to be careful in how quick we ramp him up, but he’s moving in the right direction,” Servais said.
White Sox: Giolito (0-0, 3.38 ERA) makes his second start of the season after a no-decision in the opener against the Angels. He struck out nine and allowed two hits in five-plus innings.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton returns to the mound for Seattle, the team that traded him to the New York Yankees two seasons ago. The offseason free-agent acquisition was 1-1 with a 6.64 ERA last year.
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