CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie sensation Yermín Mercedes added to his scorching start with four hits, including a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Texas Rangers 9-7 on Friday night despite blowing a five-run lead.
Yoán Moncada had three hits and a home run. Liam Hendriks got the final five outs and the White Sox (10-9) moved above .500 for the first time this season. They won for the fourth time in five games even though Texas’ Adolis García hit two more homers.
Chicago was rolling along with a 5-0 lead after chasing Dane Dunning in a five-run third, but the game turned quickly.
Luis Robert singled leading off the seventh against Kyle Cody (0-2), and Mercedes broke a 6-all tie one out later when he lined a double to center field. He moved up on Andrew Vaughn’s single and scored on Nick Madrigal’s sharp groundout to make it 8-6.
Mercedes raised his batting average to .429 and was serenaded with “MVP! MVP!” chants from the crowd, to his delight. With Eloy Jimenez expected to miss most of the season because of a ruptured left pectoral tendon, the White Sox are sure glad to have his contributions.
“I’m so excited,” Mercedes said. “I don’t know what more I need to do for my fans. But I just want to (make) my fans happy. When they call me MVP, I’m so excited.”
Moncada added a solo homer in the eighth.
Codi Heuer (2-1) worked 1 1/3 innings for the win. Hendriks came on with one out in the eighth and runners on first and second and struck out Willie Calhoun and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to end that threat. The closer gave up a solo drive to García in the ninth before striking out Nick Solak for his fourth save in five chances.
“His guts, his character, his toughness — they match his talent,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said. “That’s a really good combination for us.”
Solak hit a two-run homer against Dylan Cease in the fourth, and García cut it to 6-5 in the fifth when he lined a three-run drive to center off Evan Marshall. The Cuban slugger has five home runs in 10 games since he was called up from the Rangers’ alternate training site.
“(I’m) just enjoying the moment, living the dream and trying to do (my) best,” García said through a translator. “(I) want to be able to do this through the entire season. It just gives (me) that hunger.”
Cease gave up two runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Dunning got tagged by his former team for five runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander — acquired from Chicago for Lance Lynn in the offseason — had allowed just one run over 15 innings through his first three starts.
Rangers: GM Chris Young said slugger Khris Davis (strained quadriceps) is playing in games in Arizona and will “continue to build up at-bats” there before heading to the team’s alternate site in Round Rock, Texas. Davis, acquired in the deal that sent veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus to the Oakland Athletics just before spring training, was hurt bunting in a Cactus League game against the Los Angeles Angels. … 1B Ronald Guzman is scheduled for season-ending surgery Wednesday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
White Sox: Lynn (strained right trapezius) could be ready to return to the rotation next week, La Russa said. Lynn was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday. … La Russa also said he thinks OF Adam Engel (strained right hamstring) could return in early May. … The White Sox reinstated OF Billy Hamilton from the 10-day injured list and optioned right-hander Alex McRae to their training facility in Schaumburg. Hamilton was sidelined because of a strained left hamstring.
RHP Kyle Gibson (2-0, 2.53 ERA) looks to keep his stingy run going for the Rangers, while LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 5.68) eyes his second straight win for the White Sox. Gibson has allowed two runs — one earned — over 21 innings in his past three starts.
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