The Yermin Mercedes story continues in White Sox’ 9-7 win over Rangers
After his go-ahead double, Mercedes stood on second and got a standing ovation and heard MVP chants from the crowd of 8,696.
Yermin Mercedes is surprised by where he’s at a month into the season but wants to stay there.
“I never imagined that,” Mercedes said Friday. “I never believed I’d be at this point right now. So I’m so excited for that. I never imagined I would be here.”
Mercedes’ dream start continued in the White Sox’ 9-7 win over the Rangers.
After entering with a .429 on-base percentage, four home runs and a .661 slugging percentage, Mercedes went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs, including the go-ahead run with a double in the seventh that brought in Luis Robert. As Mercedes stood on second, he got a standing ovation and heard MVP chants from the crowd of 8,696.
The scene was the latest in a series of memorable moments for Mercedes. He has delivered titanic home runs and given the lineup a needed boost after Eloy Jimenez’s injury.
That early success has led to a restaurant naming a burger after him, T-shirts bearing his likeness and cult-hero status. Mercedes is clearly relishing his bond with the fans and said it’s a reason why he’s working hard every day.
“I love my fans, every time and every moment,” Mercedes said. “It’s so exciting when I connect on a hit or a homer. I’m so excited. I don’t know what more I need to do for my fans. I just want to make my fans happy.
“I want to win the MVP just by working hard every day. It’s too early, but I’m working on it. I’m so excited when they call me ‘MVP.’ We are working every day for that.”
Tony La Russa, who has managed a few decent hitters during his career, noted that Mercedes has a knack for coming through in pressure moments.
He did it after the Sox had squandered a 6-2 lead.
“Today was more special because they grinded out the tie, and all of a sudden, he puts us ahead with a two-strike BB,” La Russa said. “There is a possibility he’s for real.”
The Sox needed Mercedes’ offense, not to mention a five-out save from closer Liam Hendriks plus a homer and three RBI from Yoan Moncada after an interesting pitching matchup fizzled.
In a pairing of former teammates, Dylan Cease opposed Dane Dunning. Sent to Texas for Lance Lynn in a win-now trade for the Sox, Dunning had allowed one run in his first 15 innings with the Rangers.
That strong start came to an abrupt halt Friday when he couldn’t make it out of a five-run Sox third. Cease, meanwhile, barely outlasted his former teammate, needing 80 pitches to get 10 outs.
But, like many others, Cease was more than impressed by Mercedes.
“He’s been remarkable,” Cease said. “He’s stepped in and done what needs to be done. I have nothing but good things to say for him. I’m grateful he was able to pick me up today.”
The Sox’ bullpen needed to be picked up, too.
Moncada’s run-scoring single in the fourth made it 6-2, but rested Sox relievers couldn’t hold that lead. Adolis Garcia’s three-run homer off Evan Marshall cut the Sox’ lead to 6-5 in the fifth, and Texas tied the game at 6 in the sixth on a single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
All that did was set the stage for Mercedes, whose scrapbook of memories continues to add pages.
“It feels great,” Mercedes said. “I’m very excited to help my team win. I’m feeling great. Doing the same thing every day.”