Phegley single gives White Sox walk-off win
It was a fitting game for a special night in the Windy City.
After the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers stayed neck-and-neck in a tight game on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field, it came down to three singles in the bottom of the ninth to decide things in the Seventh Annual Civil Rights Game — MLB’s annual tribute to the racial integration of the game.
Josh Phegley pinch-hit rocket to left — hit off a 97 mph fastball by Tanner Scheppers — plated Avisail Garcia from third to win it 3-2 for the Sox and provide a memorable finish to a hard-fought game.
“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,” said Phegley, who’s been slumping at the plate. “I knew a strikeout wouldn’t help us there, and if you can just get the bat on the ball and get something through the infield, game-over.”
Garcia got the rally started for the Sox (53-75) in the ninth by singling to right field with one out. He dashed to third on a two-out single by Dayan Viciedo — having to put the brakes on after rounding the bag — and scored when Phegley drilled the offering by Scheppers into left field for win.
“I was trying to score that run (on Viciedo’s single) and they stopped me, but it’s okay,” Garcia said. “(Phegley) got a big hit right there and we won. He was on the bench and then (faced) somebody throwing 99 or 100 (mph). It’s pretty impressive.”
Nate Jones (4-4) picked up the victory in relief, while Scheppers (5-2) took the loss.
Texas had a four-game winning streak snapped, but more importantly for the Rangers (75-54) was an injury to center fielder Leonys Martin, who left the game in the ninth after colliding with leftfielder David Murphy on a shallow fly out by Paul Konerko. Martin, who leads off for Texas, twisted his right ankle while trying to avoid Murphy, who caught the ball.
Former White Sox rightfielder Alex Rios shifted to center field. The Rangers said Martin suffered a sprained ankle and X-rays came back negative for a fracture.
“We’ll know more about him (Sunday),” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “It wasn’t too serious. He tried to walk on it and it felt sort of good, so he was going to try to stay out there … but we weren’t going to let that happen.”
Yu Darvish and Hector Santiago staged a pitcher’s duel, with both posting quality starts despite not factoring into the decision. Darvish pitched seven innings and struck out 11, but had to work out of some tight spots, giving up six hits and walking three. He also got a cramp in his calf in the seventh, which prompted Washington to replace him after 113 pitches.
Darvish allowed just two runs, with both scoring on Adam Dunn’s homer in the bottom of the seventh that knotted it at 2-2.
“I think the least that I have to do is have a quality start every time I go out there,” Darvish said. “But the home run that I gave up to Dunn, that’s the situation where I’m not supposed to give up home runs. I wish I could take that pitch back.”
Santiago had control issues — walking three and hitting three batters in 6 1/3 innings — but six strikeouts helped him negate a couple of potential rallies, including a bases-loaded situation in the second.
“It was nice,” Santiago said of dueling with Darvish. “He’s obviously one of the top guys in the game and you can go out there and put up zeroes and match outings with him. He obviously had two more outs than me, but pitch-for-pitch and to match the score 2-2 … we left in the same situation.”
Both sides exchanged two-run homers in the sixth for the game’s first runs. Rios hit the first one, which he smoked 415 feet to left off Santiago for a 2-0 lead. The guy he used to hit in front of when he was with the White Sox, Dunn, returned the favor in the bottom half, sending a liner over the fence the opposite way in left.
In the seventh, the teams matched each other again. They both watched golden opportunities to break the tie fizzle with two runners aboard.
Earlier, in the fourth, the Rangers appeared to catch a big break that kept the White Sox from taking a 1-0 lead. Alexei Ramirez was thrown out at the plate by Craig Gentry while trying to score from second on Konerko’s single to left, but replays appeared to show that Ramirez got his lead foot and trailing foot across the plate before the tag.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura — who was ejected arguing a call on Friday night — hopped out of the dugout to argue with home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. He wasn’t tossed, but still lost the debate.
Five innings later, his team made sure it didn’t matter.
NOTES: Prior to the game, MLB Beacon Award winner Bo Jackson and former Detroit Tigers star Willie Horton addressed the crowd as part of the Civil Rights Game festivities. Horton was accepting the Beacon Award for friend and musical star Aretha Franklin, who couldn’t attend for medical reasons. … Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Billy Williams also attended the game and spoke at the Civil Rights Game banquet earlier in the day held at the Marriott in downtown Chicago. … Also honored in the pre-game Civil Rights Game festivities were former Negro Leagues pitcher Ernie Westfield, former Negro Leaguer and White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon Robinson, and Larry Doby Jr. … Texas manager Ron Washington attended the banquet and enjoyed rubbing shoulders with the likes of Aaron, Williams and Robinson. “I loved it,” he said. “It was quite an experience being around all of those Hall of Famers and listening to their stories that they had to tell … and they love to tell them.” … Rangers RHP Nick Tepesch (elbow inflammation) threw a round of live batting practice before the game and reported no pain. He will begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday with Double-A Frisco. … Texas hopes to get 1B/DH Lance Berkman (hip inflammation, knee pain) out to a rehab stint before the minor league season ends in early September. … Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando played catch from 60 feet and reported no problems.