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Young trio enjoys 1st taste of rivalry with Cubs

Smith, Engel, Davidson contribute to White Sox series-opening win at Wrigley
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- As soon as Kevan Smith woke up Monday morning, even before he made his way to Wrigley Field and helped the White Sox claim a 3-1 victory over the Cubs, he had an idea this day was going to be special.

"Oh, geez, one to remember," said the catcher, who had two hits and guided Miguel Gonzalez over 7 1/3 innings of one-run baseball in helping the White Sox end a nine-game losing streak.

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CHICAGO -- As soon as Kevan Smith woke up Monday morning, even before he made his way to Wrigley Field and helped the White Sox claim a 3-1 victory over the Cubs, he had an idea this day was going to be special.

"Oh, geez, one to remember," said the catcher, who had two hits and guided Miguel Gonzalez over 7 1/3 innings of one-run baseball in helping the White Sox end a nine-game losing streak.

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"I told Gonzo, 'I'm going to remember this one for a while,'" Smith said. "The emotion and the crowd, the energy -- it was just exciting."

Smith joined third baseman Matt Davidson and center fielder Adam Engel as a trio of newcomers to the crosstown rivalry who helped the White Sox win for the first time in the second half. Engel homered in the sixth off of Justin Grimm to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead, and Davidson went deep off of Koji Uehara in the eighth.

Video: CWS@CHC: Davidson belts 476-foot homer out of Wrigley

Actually, Davidson went very deep for his 19th home run this season. According to Statcast™, his blast exiting Wrigley Field to left carried 476 feet against a wind blowing in at 10 mph. It was the longest homer at Wrigley this season, and the third longest there since Statcast™ started tracking.

This leadoff drive in the eighth represented the White Sox longest homer since Statcast™ started tracking, topping previous 465-foot drives from Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu.

"It seemed like every pitch ... everything was weighing on everybody -- the fans, us -- especially those last couple of innings," Davidson said. "I was pumped up in the moment and excited we could get that insurance run."

Engel also tracked down Anthony Rizzo's long fly ball to center with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, keeping the White Sox up by one run. Rizzo's at-bat followed a mound conversation where manager Rick Renteria told Gonzalez a left-hander was ready, but Gonzalez countered that he felt fine and was ready to go.

Renteria isn't a newcomer to Wrigley, as he managed the Cubs in 2014 and served as the White Sox bench coach in '16. But this game was important to him in his first year managing the Sox, and the emotion as he talked to the team pregame added to an already-frenzied atmosphere.

As Smith said, it's a game these young players never will forget.

"That's probably the closest thing I've played in to a playoff game," Davidson said. "It was really cool to play in that atmosphere. And obviously here at Wrigley, it's a pretty cool atmosphere in itself every day. But having that Cubs-Sox rivalry is pretty cool."

Added Engel: "You've played in front of some loud crowds, but that's probably one of the most energetic crowds I've ever played in front of. It was a lot of fun today, in front of not only their fans, but our fans, too."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Matt Davidson, Adam Engel, Kevan Smith