KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The way the White Sox see it, there’s only one right way to honor a ‘‘first’’: with a beer shower, of course.
Bench coach Joe McEwing, running the show for a couple of days while manager Rick Renteria is in Texas after the death of his mother, got one Friday after earning his first managerial victory in the majors.
Matt Davidson got one Friday, too, after slugging two more home runs — the second a tiebreaker in the 11th inning — and becoming the first opposing player to hit seven homers at Kauffman Stadium in a season. Davidson also joined Jose Abreu as the only Sox with three multihomer games before May 1.
While the Sox giddily waited for those festivities to begin, Daniel Palka, a 26-year-old rookie with all of two big-league games under his belt, sat in a shopping cart in the middle of the clubhouse. If there’s an explanation for that, we’re probably just as well off not knowing what it is.
‘‘I would do it anytime,’’ Palka said. ‘‘I’d sit in a shopping cart for anybody on this team.’’
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Knute Rockne couldn’t have said it any better.
And the real beauty of it is that just a day later, it was Palka’s own firsts the Sox celebrated. Palka got his first big-league hit, his first homer and four hits in all in an 8-0 victory Saturday in the afternoon portion of a split doubleheader against the Royals. The Royals took the nightcap 5-2, their first victory in six tries against the Sox this season.
‘‘What a day,’’ McEwing said. ‘‘I’m sure it’s a lot of relief, a lot of stress off his shoulders to get that first [hit] out of the way.’’
It came with two outs in the second, a line single to left that led to the Sox’ first run. After Palka scored on a single by Leury Garcia two batters later, McEwing pulled him aside in the dugout.
‘‘Enjoy this moment,’’ McEwing told him. ‘‘Remember this moment. You’ll never get this moment back, your first big-league hit. Take time to digest what just happened, how amazing it is and the [dreams] that you fulfilled since you were a kid of getting that first big-league hit. Soak it all in; take it all in. And once you [do], get it out, and I wish you nothing but many more.’’
Two more opposite-field hits came in the fourth and fifth. The long ball, a three-run shot in the seventh, almost didn’t happen. McEwing had Trayce Thompson ready to pinch-hit for the left-handed Palka if Royals manager Ned Yost kept lefty reliever Eric Stout in the game. But right-hander Burch Smith came on instead — and away the ball flew over the fence in right-center.
‘‘It worked out pretty good,’’ Palka said. ‘‘Pretty funny story.’’
Yolmer Sanchez knocked in three runs, Davidson had three hits and Carson Fulmer went seven scoreless innings to earn the victory, but Palka — a player who wasn’t on many Sox fans’ radars last week — stole the show. He is the fifth player in Sox history and the first since Jim Busby in 1950 to have a four-hit game within the first three games of his career.
Does Palka, who was called up from Class AAA Charlotte when right fielder Avisail Garcia went on the 10-day disabled list, have a chance to hit his way into the Sox’ long-term plans?
‘‘Sure,’’ McEwing said. ‘‘You don’t want to put limitations on anybody.’’
The Sox won the first five games between the teams at Kauffman Stadium for the first time since 2008. Their six-game overall winning streak at the ballpark was their longest since an 11-gamer in 1996-98.