CHICAGO – White Sox rookie Seby Zavala hit the first three home runs of his career, including a grand slam, but the Cleveland Indians rallied to beat Chicago 12-11 on Saturday night.
Austin Hedges, Owen Miller and Amed Rosario homered to help Cleveland overcome a five-run deficit.
Zavala became the first player in big league history to hit his first three career home runs in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The 27-year-old catcher played his 18th game in the majors — he was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on July 6 to replace the injured Yasmani Grandal.
Batting ninth, Zavala hit a solo homer in the third off Triston McKenzie. Zavala connected for a grand slam off McKenize in the fourth for a 6-1 lead and a solo drive against Bryan Shaw in the seventh.
“I always knew I could swing it,” Zavala said. “Going through a rough patch for a couple of months, I knew if I kept working, something would click and I feel pretty good at the plate.”
With a chance to become the 19th player to hit a record-tying four homers in a game, Zavala singled in the eighth and finished with six RBIs.
Zavala was 4 for 28 with 13 strikeouts in 12 games for the White Sox this season before breaking loose. He went 1 for 12 in five games with Chicago in 2019.
Brian Goodwin and Adam Engel also homered for the White Sox, who lead the second-place Indians by eight games in the AL Central despite winning just three times in their last 10 games.
The Indians totaled nine runs in three straight innings to take the lead. Justin Garza (1-0) threw two scoreless innings. Emmanuel Clase got five outs for his 13th save.
“For us to come back and score nine unanswered runs, that’s huge,” said center fielder Myles Straw, acquired Friday from Houston. “You don’t really see that a whole lot in baseball. It just kind of shows a lot about this team. It was a crazy and very exciting first game for me.”
Engel hit a two-run homer and José Abreu added an RBI single to pull the White Sox within one in the eighth.
Miller and Hedges hit back-to-back drives in the fifth to cut the White Sox lead to 6-3. It was Miller’s first career homer.
Franmil Reyes hit an RBI double to chase Dallas Keuchel in a five-run sixth. After Hedges’ single tied the game, Yu Chang hit a two-run triple off Michael Kopech for an 8-6 lead. Goodwin made a leaping attempt in right field on Chang’s hit but couldn’t hang onto the ball.
Kopech allowed five runs in an inning, the first time he has yielded more than a run in an outing this season.
Each starting pitcher allowed three home runs. McKenzie gave up six runs over four innings for Cleveland while Keuchel was tagged for five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
“I’ve been dealing with this mechanical flaw of mine and sometimes I clean it up and sometimes I don’t,” Keuchel said. “I fell victim to it after the third, and they took advantage of it.”
Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth in his first appearance for the White Sox after they acquired him from the Cubs at the trade deadline Friday.
He is reunited with Tony La Russa, who was in Boston’s front office when Kimbrel pitched for the Red Sox in 2018.
“We won one together when I had a red sock on. Now let’s do it in white,” Kimbrel said he told the manager.
The White Sox added Kimbrel despite already having All-Star closer Liam Hendriks. La Russa said they will be used depending on their availability.
“The day they’re both available, we’ll be real clear if we have the lead who pitches the eighth and who pitches the ninth,” La Russa said. “It’s not going to be a quarterback controversy. It’s not going to be a closer controversy. It’s just going to be, ‘Let’s get the outs and let’s get a win and let’s keep going forward.’ ”
Kimbrel, an eight-time All-Star, had a 0.49 ERA and 23 saves in 25 opportunities with the Cubs this season.
“I’m on board to do whatever I need to do to help this team win,” he said.
BREAK IN ACTION
The game was briefly paused in the bottom of the eighth after debris fell onto right field. Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said an object was thrown at right fielder Oscar Mercado. Straw said Mercado told him it was a bobblehead doll – the White Sox giveaway was a second baseman Yoán Moncada bobblehead.
“I want this game to keep going and not have a breakup or downtime because it was such a good game,” Hale said. “(Security) took care of it right away and we moved on.”
White Sox: LF Eloy Jiménez (groin tightness) remained out of the lineup for the third straight game. The slugger is expected back by Tuesday. A pectoral tear sidelined Jiménez all season until he was reinstated from the injured list Monday. … OF Luis Robert (right hip flexor) is moving well but “a few at-bats short” in his rehab assignment, La Russa said.
RHP Cal Quantrill (2-2, 3.66 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Indians in Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox, who had yet to announce a starter.
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