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(Not) comic relief: Davidson gives White Sox bullpen a perfect inning

Matt Davidson works against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP)

ARLINGTON, Texas — White Sox corner infielder and designated hitter Matt Davidson was a star pitcher in high school, so he might not have been as stunned as you were by his perfect inning of relief pitching against the Rangers Friday night.

“This sounds cheesy but it was a dream come true,” Davidson said after recording three consecutive outs including a strikeout to end the eighth inning in the Sox’ 11-3 loss to the Rangers Friday at Globe Life Park. “I didn’t really start playing a position full time till my senior year. I was kind of pitcher-DH in high school. I didn’t grow up playing shortstop and my favorite player was [pitcher] Randy Johnson growing up. It was really cool.”

At Yucipa (Calif.) High School, Davidson was 27-5 with a 1.06 ERA in his career. His pro career took a different path away from the mound, though, but with the Sox needing to save their bullpen on the first day of a road trip following a 13-inning loss the day before, Davidson was ready.

Davidson pitched on flat ground a few days ago, knowing such an opportunity might one day present itself.

“Just to stay on top of it. I kind of enjoy it, too,” he said.

Manager Rick Renteria tapped Davidson on the shoulder in the seventh inning, and between innings he ran to the bullpen to warm up.

Throwing a fastball, curve and splitter, he touched 91 mph with the heater and needed only 13 pitches to get Ryan Rua on a pop-up to first baseman Jose Abreu, pinch hitter Carlos Tocci on a soft liner back to Davidson and Rougned Odor striking out swinging.

“It’s only us and the Angels with Ohtani who have somebody who can actually chuck and hit,” Renteria quipped.

<em>Matt Davidson is congratulated after he recorded three straight outs including a strikeout of the Rangers’ Rougned Odor. (AP)</em>
Matt Davidson is congratulated after he recorded three straight outs including a strikeout of the Rangers’ Rougned Odor. (AP)

Using a position player has a way of ending a bad night on a lighter note — and it was a bad night for Sox right-hander Dylan Covey and the Sox, who committed two errors and scratched out only five hits to fall to 28-53. But in all seriousness, Renteria said he doesn’t take using position players to pitch lightly.“You try to make sure when you do things like that you’re not undermining the game,” Renteria said. “You want to make sure they have a sense of the mound and don’t embarrass themselves.”

And Davidson, doing interviews in a losing clubhouse, tried to keep his “dream” moment in perspective.

“I would hate to be in that position again as a team,” Davidson said. “We don’t want to lose 11-3. I openly don’t want to be out there. That means we’re losing.”Not that he hated it.

“It was lot of fun being out there,” he said.