Mercedes' 431-foot HR gave Rodón a cushion

April 15th, 2021

CHICAGO -- For the first time during the 2021 season, was not the story of the night during an 8-0 White Sox victory over Cleveland on Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

That honor belonged to starting pitcher Carlos Rodón, who retired the first 25 hitters he faced and ended with the 20th no-hitter in franchise history. So Mercedes' fifth multi-hit game in 10 played for the White Sox this season flew a little under the radar.

But Mercedes no longer is Major League Baseball’s best kept secret after having reached base in all but one of his games played and all nine of his starts. The rookie designated hitter finished 3-for-5, including a three-run home run during a six-run first against Cleveland starter Zach Plesac, leaving his average at .500 for the season.

Offensive success for Mercedes almost has become commonplace.

“It’s always been commonplace for me,” said White Sox catcher Zack Collins of Mercedes, after being behind the plate for his first no-hitter ever. “When I played with him in [Triple-A] Charlotte, I knew he would always hit. What he’s doing now is pretty cool, but I am not surprised at all.”

That first-inning homer had an exit velocity of 111.2 mph and traveled 431 feet, per Statcast. Mercedes is 19-for-38 overall, with three home runs, six runs scored, three doubles, 10 RBIs, only four strikeouts, a .548 on-base percentage and an .816 slugging percentage.

The White Sox as a group had seven hits in the first inning off Plesac. In three starts against the White Sox last season, Plesac allowed 12 hits and four earned runs over 20 2/3 innings.