ARLINGTON, Texas — Zack Collins knows how to make a good first impression.
The White Sox’ top catching prospect, getting his first major-league start as the designated hitter Friday against the Rangers and right-hander Ariel Jurado, wasted no time getting his first big-league hit, a 447-foot home run to center field in the second inning at Globe Life Park.
The three-run blast, coming in his second career plate appearance and first at-bat after he got called up from Class AAA Charlotte on Tuesday, erased an early two-run deficit. The Sox (36-37) would need all three of those runs later, when they went on to win 5-4 in 10 innings.
The winning run came on Yolmer Sanchez’s safety-squeeze bunt that scored Eloy Jimenez. Alex Colome pitched a scoreless 10th for his 16th save in as many opportunities, setting a franchise record by converting 16 to start a season. Dustin Hermanson had 15 in a row out of the gate in 2005.
Collins would ground out and strike out three consecutive times after the bomb, giving him the best 1-for-5 of his life.
“I was in shock when I hit that ball,” he said. “I knew it was gone. Running around the bases, it kind of seemed like a blur to me. It was a big win for us and an awesome experience.”
In two games, Collins has demonstrated what he does: draw walks, strike out and hit homers. He is the fourth Sox player to go deep in his first major-league at-bat, joining Carlos Lee in 1999 (Athletics), Miguel Olivo in 2002 (Yankees) and Josh Fields in 2006 (Tigers).
In the early innings, the ball was flying out of Globe Life. Nomar Mazara hit a 505-foot blast to right field, the longest home run in the majors this season, against Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez in the first inning. Rougned Odor homered to the upper deck in right in the second inning to tie the score at 3.
Lopez settled down after the first two innings and threw 5„ innings, keeping the damage at three runs. He allowed six hits and one walk and struck out four.
“At the beginning, I was feeling too passive,” Lopez said. “That’s something as a starter that I need to correct. I need to be more aggressive from the get-go.’’
Collins’ homer set the tone for another one of those good nights for the Sox’ young core. Yoan Moncada doubled twice and scored on Jimenez’s single in the third, and Jimenez singled and advanced to third on Tim Anderson’s single in the 10th, setting up Sanchez’s bunt.
“The first baseman [Ronald Guzman] is not fast; he was covering first,” Sanchez said. “It was a good play. If you practice it, it shouldn’t be that hard. We bunt every day in practice.”
Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall, Jace Fry, Kelvin Herrera and Colome combined for 4‰ innings of one-run ball.
The only thing missing from an all-right night in the Sox’ world was a strong performance from Dylan Cease at Charlotte. Cease allowed six runs (five earned), nine hits and three walks in 5‰ innings, his ERA climbing to 4.69. In his last four starts, he has allowed 16 earned runs, 24 hits and 11 walks in 16„ innings. Cease touched 99 mph, and his curveball was crisp, according to a scout who saw him, but he needs more time.
“Good stuff again, [but he] has to learn how to pitch,” the scout said. “His line score is not as bad as it looks probably. Zero reason to rush this guy.”
Collins said this week that Cease is ready, but that’s what teammates are going to say.
“There’s definitely more pieces in the minor leagues that can help us out up here,” he said. “This team has a lot of excitement coming up. We are excited.”