Mercedes (3 RBIs), Collins (4 RBIs) fuel win

White Sox split two with Mariners; Abreu injures knee in Game 1

June 28th, 2021

CHICAGO -- The 7-5 White Sox win over the Mariners Sunday evening at Guaranteed Rate Field falls under the category of total team victory.

Six White Sox pitchers followed Ryan Burr to the mound, after the right-hander hurled two scoreless innings to open. Closer Liam Hendriks, who took the loss in Sunday’s 3-2 Game 1 decision, had to close out Game 2 after Jimmy Lambert allowed Mitch Haniger’s three-run homer in the seventh.

Box score

Zack Collins drove in four, Yermín Mercedes drove in three and Tim Anderson added two hits and a run scored. Luis González even nailed Kyle Seager at the plate to end the sixth in what seemed like just another play at the time, but loomed larger when the Mariners rallied.

It’s the sort of next-man-up mentality the White Sox have preached all season with the plethora of injuries having beset them.

José Abreu, the White Sox first baseman and team leader, rejoined that list after being hit by a pitch in his left knee in that first-game loss. Abreu had to be helped from the field and left with a bruised left knee, although X-rays for a fracture were negative and he’s listed as day to day.

“He’s in good spirits,” said Burr of Abreu. “Training staff is doing everything they can to get him ready for tomorrow.”

“Our guys were concerned about him,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He got hit in a really tender spot. I think you've got to wait and see tomorrow, see how it is 24 hours later."

Collins has 10 RBIs over his last 12 games, while Mercedes drove in multiple runs for just the second time in June. Mercedes produced eye-popping numbers through April, with a .415/.455/.659 slash line at the end of the month, and the White Sox will benefit from increased offensive production from both individuals.

"I’m just feeling more comfortable up there,” Collins said. “Every at-bat, it’s starting to feel like a normal at-bat, nothing crazy like, ‘There’s 35,000 people in the stands, I better get a hit,’ type of thing. Honestly, I feel that, for the first year for me, I feel comfortable and I’ve been swinging it well.”

“There's no question that his work, the process, is working good and he's taking it into the game,” said La Russa of Mercedes. “He looks more like he did early, right? It'd be a great time for him to get back to being himself. He was critical today. ... It's exciting to see him have those kinds of at-bats."

Burr was followed by Garrett Crochet, Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Aaron Bummer, as they carried a no-hitter into the sixth of this seven-inning game until Haniger’s leadoff double off Lambert.

Burr didn’t really know he was starting until the end of the first game, when the White Sox lost in nine innings, but he continued his strong showing with one hit given up over 10 2/3 innings this season.

“When you've got three pitches and they're all plus pitches, he's a weapon,” La Russa said of Burr. “And we've given him some really tough assignments, and he's handled them. Very pleased to add him to the list."

The White Sox first win of the weekend increased their lead in the American League Central to 2 1/2 games over the Indians, who lost to Minnesota on Sunday. The first-game loss was the completion of Saturday’s suspended game brought about by inclement weather, which began in the bottom of the third, and also marked the first time this season the White Sox have lost back-to-back games at home.

Despite having lost seven of their last nine games even after Sunday’s split, and possibly being without Abreu beyond a day or two, the White Sox (45-32) continue to show first-place mettle.

“We have a really good group of guys that kind of follows the next-man-up mentality and a lot of guys who are bench guys who are champing at the bit to get out there and help the team any way they can,” Burr said. “It sucks to have Pito go down like that, but our guys prepare every day to be ready for something like this happening.”