Left-hander Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox tossed the second no-hitter of the 2021 MLB season, just barely missing out on a perfect game Wednesday night in an 8-0 win over Cleveland.
Rodon, who had his start pushed back two days because of a stomach bug, made the Cleveland hitters feel ill, inducing plenty of weak contact while striking out seven. But he lost the perfect game with one out in the ninth inning when he hit Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez in the foot.
The last perfect game in the majors came in 2012 when there were three of them, by Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants and Philip Humber of the White Sox.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon reacts after throwing a no-hitter vs. Cleveland. (Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski, USA TODAY Sports)
Rodon was the third overall pick in the 2014 draft by the White Sox, but he's battled injuries throughout his seven-year career.
He missed most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery in May 2019 and made only four appearances, pitching a total of 7⅔ innings.
The White Sox declined to offer him arbitration and allowed him to become a free agent, but brought him back on a one-year, $3 million contract with a chance to compete for a rotation spot in the spring.
He did exactly that, allowing only two runs and striking out 16 over 13⅔ spring innings.
After winning the fifth starter job, Rodon (2-0) tossed five shutout innings in his first start of the regular season. And, with two extra days of rest, he was economical enough with his pitches in his second start to complete the no-hitter without any help from the bullpen.
"You could tell he was pale," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said of Rodon in deciding to delay the left-hander's scheduled turn in the rotation on Monday. "The day after he was feeling better, regaining some strength. Then this morning there was no doubt that he was going to pitch. It was fast. That was kinda what we were hoping, it was just a 24-hour flu."
The ninth inning provided plenty of drama when leadoff batter Josh Naylor hit a slow roller to first baseman Jose Abreu, who made the pickup and lunged for the bag just ahead of Naylor's head-first slide.
WHAT A PLAY. pic.twitter.com/BwI7Rdpg6L
Rodon recovered after hitting Perez, the next batter, to get the final two outs and complete the no-hitter.
In all, Rodon threw 114 pitches, 75 of them for strikes.
Rodon's gem comes just five days after Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres tossed this season's first no-hitter.
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