Even for a team just playing out the rest of the season, there’s no diluting the gleeful madness of a walk-off hit.
Josh Phegley smacked a sharp single to left with two outs to score Avisail Garcia and give the White Sox a 3-2 walk-off win against Texas on Saturday night in front of 22,079 at U.S. Cellular Field. Phegley was quickly mobbed by his teammates on the infield.
“It's the best beating of your life,” he said. “(Gordon) Beckham was in there giving me some good shots to the midsection. It's tons of fun. As soon as you get that hit, you can't feel anything for the next ten minutes."
Garcia reached on a one-out single and advanced to third on Dayan Vicideo’s single with two outs. On a 1-1 pitch, Phegley hit the third straight 97-mph fastball from Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers into left field for his first walk-off hit as a big leaguer.
“Scheppers, I've faced him in college. I know he's a hard-thrower, and I just tried to get my foot down and get the barrel on something,” Phegley said
The rookie catcher entered the game on defense in the eighth after starter Tyler Flowers was removed for pinch-hitter Jeff Keppinger in the seventh. With runners on first and third and one out, Keppinger struck out (following a strikeout by Viciedo) and Alejandro De Aza popped out as Rangers starter Yu Darvish escaped a jam, preserving a 2-2 tie.
"That's tough to come back sometimes when you get first and third late in the game and you don't do anything with it, but again guys just (continued) to play hard,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Sox starter Hector Santiago matched Darvish, one of the league’s best pitchers this year, almost pitch-for-pitch. Santiago gave up two runs over six innings, despite walking three and hitting three batters. It was Santiago’s third straight quality start.
"He's had flashes of that already,” Ventura said of Santiago’s streak of solid starts. “You continue to let him go out there and pitch. It's just part of us seeing what we have going into next year."
Former Sox right fielder Alex Rios hit a 415-foot home run inside the left-field foul pole off Santiago with a runner on to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the sixth.
But in the bottom half, Adam Dunn whacked his own two-run homer into the Sox bullpen to tie the game.
Darvish gave up two runs over seven innings and struck out 11, his tenth double-digit strikeout game of the year, best in the majors. But Santiago kept pace, and Phegley took advantage of his only at-bat of the game.
"It's fun when you get young guys who are up here for the first time,” Ventura said.
-- White Sox pitchers tied a franchise record by hitting four batters. Starter Hector Santiago hit three (including former Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski), and Nate Jones hit one.
-- Adam Dunn's homer was the 435th of his career, breaking a tie with Juan Gonzalez and Andruw Jones for sole possession of 41st place all time.
-- Garcia’s ninth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
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-- Former White Sox reliever Neal Cotts struck out two in pitching a perfect eighth for the Rangers.
-- Texas center fielder Leonys Martin left the game in the ninth after colliding with left fielder David Murphy on a fly ball.
-- Texas had won nine straight on the road, and a 10th straight would have been a franchise record.