(AP) – Yermin Mercedes registered his first five Major League hits and contributed four runs. Jose Abreu hit a Grand Slam for the Chicago White Sox in a 12-8 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
LOS ANGELES Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (5) celebrates his home run with Jose Iglesias (4), catcher Max Stassi (33) and center fielder Mike Trout (27) during the MLB game against the Chicago White Sox at 2nd. April 2021 at Angel Stadium. (Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Sportswire Icons via Getty Images)
Mercedes, a 28-year-old catcher playing his second game of his career, hit 5-for-5 in an uncharacteristic performance as Chicago’s designated hitter. He hit a double in the fourth and a double in the ninth inning in his first win of the season in Chicago.
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The only players since 1900 to hit five for the first time in their careers were Mercedes and Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators, who went 5-for-7 in 1933. Fred Clark did the same for the Louisville Colonels in 1894.
Albert Pujols hit a three-point shot for his 663rd save. Shohei Ohtani hit a home run in the ninth inning and Mike Trout had two hits for the Angels. Jose Iglesias and Dexter Fowler got their first hits in the new clubhouse, but Los Angeles’ longstanding rotation problems are back as early as 2021.
Abreu made a splash for the White Sox when the 2020 AL MVP hit his third career slam off Andrew Heaney (0-1) in the third inning. Heaney retired the first seven Chicago batters before collapsing, getting eight of the next nine batters on base and yielding seven runs on five hits.
Mercedes gave the White Sox a 7-1 lead, but LOS ANGELES gradually narrowed the margin to 7-6 before Chicago finished it off with five runs in the ninth. Tim Anderson hit a home run and Yasmani Grandal added a double to score the run, before Mercedes doubled to left field.
Michael Kopek (1-0) got the win in his first appearance since 2018, and Liam Hendricks drew a walk in 4 out in his White Sox debut.
The recently retired Iglesias of Australia scored a warning track with two Angels in the eighth inning before his teammates gave him a big bunt in the ninth. Ohtani hit a two-run home run with two outs, but Hendricks retired Anthony Rendon to end the game.
Dallas Keuchel needed just four innings for Chicago and allowed five hits and six runs, three of which were unearned.
Yoan Moncada struck out five for Chicago.
Jose Rojas, born in Anaheim, made his Major League debut in the Angels’ ninth game as a pinch-hitter.
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White Sox: Kopech pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. The right-hander missed the last two seasons due to Tommy John surgery and the KOVID-19 pandemic.
Angel: Manager Joe Maddon said Ty Buttrey was restricted after he chose to leave the game rather than accept his assignment to the Angels’ alternate practice field. Buttrey has struggled with control this spring. Maddon says the team would be happy to have Buttrey back in baseball.
BEGINNING OF VAUGHAN
Top White Sox aspirant Andrew Vaughn batted 0-for-3 with a walk and a run in 6 1/2 innings in his Major League debut.
Vaughn, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft, played left field and struck out the day before his 23rd birthday. Heaney hit him in his first start, but the Santa Rosa, Calif. native came on in the fourth and scored on a single by Adam Eaton.
With the absence of Eloy Jimenez for most of the season, Vaughn should be a starter in left field in Chicago, despite being a natural first baseman who didn’t start until the 26th. March made his debut as an outfielder in spring training.
It’s a dream that came true and now it’s just a job, Vaughn said.
Angels righthander Chris Rodriguez pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts in his Major League debut. Rodriguez never got beyond Class A, but as a reward for the Angels’ confidence in his exceptional abilities, he felt right at home on the major league mound, throwing three three-run innings.
Alex Cobb will make his debut with the Angels and Lance Lynn will make his debut with the White Sox when the 33-year-old right-hander strikes out. Los Angeles acquired Cobb from Baltimore in February to bolster its rotation, which has struggled for years, while Chicago acquired Lynn from Texas last December.
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