CHICAGO -- When Daniel Palka launched a pinch-hit home run off Dillon Maples in the sixth inning of a 10-4 White Sox victory over the Cubs Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field, the rookie made no effort to retrieve the baseball.Palka might have wanted to track that one down considering it
CHICAGO -- When Daniel Palka launched a pinch-hit home run off Dillon Maples in the sixth inning of a 10-4 White Sox victory over the Cubs Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field, the rookie made no effort to retrieve the baseball.
Palka might have wanted to track that one down considering it became his fourth pinch-hit home run of 2018, setting a single-season franchise record.
"No, no. Whatever," said Palka with a laugh. "As long as a White Sox fan got it, we are good."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon pulled starter Jose Quintana at 88 pitches after Welington Castillo singled to open the sixth. Maddon went to the right-handed-throwing Maples, meaning White Sox manager Rick Renteria went with the left-handed-swinging Palka over designated hitter Kevan Smith.
All Smith had done to that point was hit a three-run homer to give the White Sox control in the second and then double and score in the fourth. Palka's connection off Maples came on a 2-2 pitch with an exit velocity on 110.4 mph. Palka now has 11 110-plus mph homers this year, per Statcast™, third in MLB behind Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo (16 apiece). He also broke a tie with Nelson Cruz, who has 10.
The MLB record for pinch-hit home runs is shared by Dave Hansen (Dodgers, 2000) and Craig Wilson (Pirates, 2001), who both had seven.
"I just do my same pregame routine and when it's time, it's time," said Palka of his pinch-hit preparation. "I kind of forgot about [the record] for a second and maybe the next half-inning I just started cheesing because I had forgotten about it."
"He wants to swing the bat," Renteria said. "And if he gets a pitch that he can handle, because of his strength, the bat speed that he has, he has a chance to do what he did today."
Palka's 27th home run also gave him the overall MLB lead among rookies, placing him one ahead of Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. and two ahead of the Yankees' Miguel Andujar. That lofty perch with nine games remaining didn't really seem to move Palka any more than the rest of his success. He also tied Zeke Bonura for third on the single-season White Sox rookie home run list.
"It's nice. But it's not something I'm really thinking about," Palka said. "I'm just going out there doing what I can and whatever the outcome is. … It's been a positive year in that aspect. It's just nothing but excitement."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.