Homers by Palka, Davidson in ninth carry White Sox past Tigers
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Another day, another strong pitching performance by a young White Sox starter.
And another win for a team once destined for 100 losses but now playing its best baseball of the season.
A tying home run by Daniel Palka and a walk-off shot by Matt Davidson against Shane Greene powered the Sox to a 4-2 victory Monday against the Tigers.
Reynaldo Lopez had his second consecutive outing of seven innings with one run allowed, following his performance at Yankee Stadium with a walk-free effort before a Labor Day crowd of 15,540 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
In the last 11 games, Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Carlos Rodon and James Shields own a 2.71 ERA, the best mark in the American League during that time. The Sox (56-82) have won eight of those.
“This good moment is contagious,’’ Lopez said. “You see other guys pitching well, and you want to follow them, and you want to keep that rolling.’’
Rookie Ian Hamilton got four consecutive outs in relief of Lopez, but left-hander Jace Fry gave up a homer to Victor Martinez in the ninth inning to break a 1-1 tie.
Nicky Delmonico led off the first with a homer against Michael Fulmer, who did not allow a hit after that. Fulmer had to leave in the sixth inning when he took a comebacker from Palka off his right shin. He is day-to-day.
Lopez touched 97.6 mph with his fastball, mixed up his pitches and had an exceptional changeup.
“He has probably one of the best changeups I’ve seen,” manager Rick Renteria said.
Saving best for the last
Palka elevated an opposite-field shot for his sixth ninth-inning home run, the most in the majors. He’s batting .236 with 21 homers and 55 RBI and trying to work his way into the Sox’ future plans.
“There’s lots of good things, but the consistency still isn’t what I want it to be,’’ Palka said. “Average-wise, I’m not happy with that. But, overall, I feel like the positives have outweighed the negatives. The negatives are pretty simple fixes and adjustments.’’
Palka’s defense in the outfield corners is not a positive, but it has improved.
“I think Palka plays a role on a very good club,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said. “That role, we’re still learning about.’’
Davidson is batting .322 in his last 18 games.
“We’re really good; everything is kind of clicking together,’’ Davidson said. “We’re staying in games with great pitching, and then we’re hitting well. When you got all that going, you’re going to win games.’’
This and that
Center fielder Ryan Cordell was called up from Class AAA Charlotte and scored the winning run as a pinch runner for Welington Castillo, who caught his first game after serving an 80-game suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy.
† Right-hander Jose Ruiz will be recalled from Class AA Birmingham, Hahn said.
† Jose Abreu (DL after outpatient surgery on his groin area) and Leury Garcia (hamstring) are expected back around the middle of the month, Hahn said.
† Right-hander Nate Jones is starting a rehab assignment at Class A Winston-Salem on Wednesday.
† Avisail Garcia (knee) is day-to-day.