The White Sox welcomed back an old friend for Friday night’s game as Dane Dunning and the Rangers came to town to begin a three-game series. For a game that was initially anticipated due to the pitching matchup, the bats were very active on both sides as neither Dane Dunning nor Dylan Cease made it through the fourth inning.
A five-run 3rd inning gave the Sox a convincible lead early, but it proved to not be enough after the Rangers put together five runs in the 4th and 5th innings. After the Rangers knotted the game up at six in the 6th, the White Sox propelled ahead yet again with two runs in the 7th inning and one more in the 8th. Liam Hendriks entered in the 8th inning to close the door on the Rangers comeback effort.
For the first time this season, the White Sox are over .500 at 10-9.
W: Codi Heuer (2-1) | L: Kyle Cody (0-2) | SV: Liam Hendriks (4)
Yermin Mercedes: 4-for-4, 3 H, 2B, 3 RBI
Mercedes continued to add onto the magic of his 2021 season with a quad of hits in Friday night’s game. He began his day with a single in the bottom half of the 2nd off of Dunning; just an inning later, he contributed to the Sox 5-run 3rd inning with a two-RBI single before picking up his third hit on a base hit in the 5th. His fourth hit, an RBI double in the 7th, was his biggest as it gave the Sox a late lead after blowing a 5-0 margin.
Mercedes’ first three hits came in a different variety than the majority of his hits in 2021 with exit velocities of 82.3, 81.0, and 90.3. He surpassed triple digits on his fourth hit in the 7th with a 100.4 MPH liner to the right center gap.
Yoan Moncada: 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB
Moncada continued to slowly creep his way back up the batting average ladder by doing damage at both sides of the plate with a couple of RBI singles, including one that increased the Sox lead to 3-0 in the 5th. His night didn’t conclude there, however, as Moncada gave the Sox a much needed insurance run on a solo-homer in the bottom of the 8th that increased the Sox lead to 9-6.
Liam Hendriks: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 5 K
Liam Hendriks demonstrated why he’s one of the best in the business at the back of the bullpen by shutting down the Rangers over five outs. Despite surrendering a solo home run in the top half of the 9th, Hendriks used his big fastball to close out the win for the Sox and secure his fourth save of the season. All of the outs that Hendriks recorded on Friday night came via the strikeout.
Matchup of the Game
The White Sox and Tony La Russa turned to closer Liam Hendriks a tad earlier than usual after Codi Heuer allowed two baserunners in the 8th inning with an 8-6 lead. As expected, the highest leveraged at-bat came during this time when Hendriks took on Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who entered the at-bat with three hits, with two runners on including the tying run at second base.
Hendriks did not hesitate to go right at Kiner-Falefa, unleashing four straight fastballs at 98+ MPH. The fourth fastball, which was his fastest of the inning at 98.6, was placed on the upper outside part of the zone and induced a swing-and-a-miss from the Rangers shortstop to strand two runs in scoring position.
Player of the Game
This is not a broken record: Yermin Mercedes runs away with tonight’s Player of the Game. After being shifted down a few slots to 7th in the batting order, Mercedes responded by adding yet another four-hit game to his short yet very impressive resume.
Game two of the series versus Texas will take place on Saturday evening at 6:10 PM CT as Dallas Keuchel (1-0) will look to improve on what has been an underwhelming 2021 season thus far. He will be opposed on the bump by Texas’ Kyle Gibson (2-0) who sports a 2.53 ERA heading into the matchup.
The game will be broadcasted on both NBC Sports Chicago and Fox Sports 1 with pregame coverage beginning on NBCSCH+ at 5:30.
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