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Almost perfect: Rodón settles for no-hitter after HBP in 9th

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Carlos Rodon, center, celebrates his no hitter against the Cleveland Indians with his teammates in a baseball game, Wednesday, April, 14, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

CHICAGO – Carlos Rodón jumped around near the mound, surrounded by exuberant teammates. All the injuries, all the uncertainty, it seemed like a lifetime ago.

From no roster spot to no-hitter — Rodón had arrived at his moment.

The left-hander threw the second no-hitter of the young baseball season Wednesday night, losing his bid for a perfect game on a hit batter with one out in the ninth inning, and the Chicago White Sox cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

“It just feels good to finally sit here and tell you I dominated today, and it felt good,” Rodón said. “I've never really done that. I've never done that on this level at least, and it feels good to say I did it.”

The 28-year-old pitcher got some help from AL MVP José Abreu, who picked up Josh Naylor's slow bouncer leading off the ninth and got his toe on first base in the nick of time. The pandemic-limited crowd of 7,148, bundled up on a cool, crisp night, had to endure a quick replay review when the Indians challenged, but the call was upheld.

Rodón then plunked Roberto Pérez on the back foot with an 0-2 slider — the only runner he allowed. An incredulous Rodón looked on almost in bewilderment as Pérez made his way to first, asking the veteran catcher if the ball actually hit him.

It had. A perfect game saved by inches — then lost by a foot.

Rodón regained his composure in time to strike out Yu Chang looking and retire Jordan Luplow on a sharp grounder to third baseman Yoán Moncada, starting a joyous celebration. Rodón held out his arms as Moncada jumped toward him and backup catcher Zack Collins joined the impromptu party.