It was just one win, but the 5-3 victory against the Rangers on Saturday offered a glimpse of the possibilities and the opportunities being given to young White Sox players.
Daniel Palka stepped in to fill the outfield void left by the injured Nicky Delmonico and Avisail Garcia with a two-out, two-run triple in the third inning to cap a four-run rally and pave the way to the win at Guaranteed Rate Field.
More young players stepped up Saturday, too. Lucas Giolito rebounded from a seven-walk effort against the Cubs with a quality-start win, and Jace Fry pitched 1⅓ hitless innings of relief.
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“They’re rookies, and it’s giving them the opportunity to play and to show what they can do and the confidence for them to show their talent,” first baseman Jose Abreu said through a translator. “We are all excited to see what they can do and how they can help us. I think that we all belong at this level, and for us it’s an exciting moment.”
Palka isn’t high on the prospect radar — he ranks No. 30 on MLB.com’s list of the Sox’ top 30 prospects — but injuries have given him a chance to make an impression. Fry is No. 29 on that list.
Palka is quietly hitting .271 in 18 games this season, the third highest average on the team right now behind Abreu and Yolmer Sanchez.
“When I believe we have a good matchup that suits him and gives him an opportunity to contribute, we’ll do so,” manager Rick Renteria said of Palka. “We’re going to do the best we can to find ways to use all our guys in situations that will be conducive to them having success.”
Fry got to experience some high-leverage situations by entering the game in the eighth inning for just the second time this season. He retired the Rangers in order in the eighth and struck out Rougned Odor for the first out of the ninth before giving way to closer Nate Jones. It was his first ninth-inning appearance of the season.
Fry now has retired 22 of 24 batters this season and hasn’t given up a hit in 7⅓ innings.
“It was awesome getting in there in the eighth inning, and even getting the first guy in the ninth inning,” Fry said. “After I got him I was kind of hoping [Renteria] would let me keep going, but it was a good decision. Jonesy shut the door, so it was all good.”
Giolito tossed his fourth quality start and won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Things started a little rocky for the right-hander after giving up three doubles and two runs in the second inning.
But Giolito said an adjustment after the third inning allowed him to better command his fastball.
“I’ve been learning a ton from good outings and bad outings, especially from the bad outings,” Giolito said. “It’s been a pretty weird year so far, you know, a lot of negative points. But I feel really good about this one today, being able to make an adjustment midgame and then feel really comfortable out there and be able to fill up the strike zone. Definitely a good one to build off of.”
The win was the second of the series for the White Sox, marking the first time this season that they’ve won two games in a homestand.