Phegley’s walk-off single decides 3-2 Sox victory

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What happens with the White Sox catching situation next year will be one of the focal points next spring training.

For now, rookie Josh Phegley continues to stake a claim to the top role over Tyler Flowers.

Phegley replaced Flowers in the eighth inning Saturday, then won the game in the ninth with a two-out, RBI single off Tanner Scheppers (5-2) for the 3-2 walk-off victory over the Texas Rangers.

“It’s the best beating of your life,’’ Phegley said of being mobbed by his teammates. “It’s a ton of fun as soon as you get that hit. You can’t feel anything for the next ten minutes.’’

Phegley drove in Avisail Garcia, who singled with one out to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Dayan Viciedo singled, sending Garcia to third before Phegley’s hit.

It was the eighth game-ending hit of the season for the Sox and the first game-ending hit for Phegley, who has had a hit in each of his last three games.

Flowers started the game, his first start in the last eight games, but struck out in his two at bats against Rangers ace Yu Darvish.

But he handled Sox starter Hector Santiago well, Santiago matching Darvish through six innings in a game that saw each give up a two-run homer in a 2-2 tie until the ninth.

Santiago was bruised by ex-Sox Alex Rios, who homered in the sixth after ex-Sox A.J. Pierzynski had singled.

Darvish gave up a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to Adam Dunn (29th) after Gordon Beckham had singled.

“It’s not surprising they do well because they’re good players,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Rios and Pierzynski.

Darvish struck out 11 in seven innings while Santiago worked 6 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out six in going winless in his eighth home start.

He has allowed two runs or less in eight of his last 10 starts.

Matt Lindstrom relieved Santiago in the seventh with a man on and one out. He gave up a single to Elvis Andrus but ended the inning without a run scoring.

It was Lindstrom’s 63rd appearance, giving him the American League lead in appearances.

The victory went to Nate Jones (4-4) who pitched the ninth.

If pitching becomes the expected strength of the Sox next season, the other side of the battery remains in question.

“It’s kind of been a slow road since I’ve been up here for me,’’ said Phegley, who was recalled July 5. “And I know [Flowers] hasn’t had a good go at it this year, but I know he’s a good hitter.

“Going into this season, they named him the starting catcher and I was sent to Triple A and I thought he’d have a tremendous season. He’s a good hitter and it just hasn’t gone that way for us.

“But we’re going to keep swinging it. We’ve got a whole month left and we’re not going to quit and we’re going to keep trying to win ballgames.’’

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