Hitting with two strikes never seems to bother White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal. So, of course, his first career walk-off hit would come in that situation.
Madrigal’s double over the head of right fielder Joey Gallo with two outs in the ninth inning gave the Sox a 2-1 victory Saturday against the Rangers at Guaranteed Rate Field. It came on an 0-2 slider from left-hander John King and scored Luis Robert from second.
Madrigal is now 27-for-78 (.346) when hitting with two strikes in his young career.
‘‘I was feeling good,’’ Madrigal said. ‘‘I didn’t feel like the pressure was on me, even when the guy got to two strikes. I was feeling good about the whole moment.’’
King got Madrigal to roll over on a grounder to shortstop to end the seventh, and Madrigal admitted to still being off-balance while falling behind against the funky lefty in the ninth.
‘‘What a great at-bat by him,’’ Sox manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘He’s got no fear. He loves those situations. It makes him a winning-type, championship player.’’
Closer Liam Hendriks, working one night after recording a five-strikeout save, allowed a tying home run to Willie Calhoun with one out in the ninth. It was his second blown save in six chances and kept the Sox from securing their first 1-0 victory since August 2018.
Outfielder Billy Hamilton, fresh off the Sox’ bench, turned in a defensive gem in the seventh. His 95 mph throw from left field was a bit wild but strong enough to nab Calhoun at the plate and preserve a one-run lead.
Hamilton, who was activated from the injured list Friday after dealing with an injury to his left hamstring, had entered the game in place of rookie Andrew Vaughn.
Rangers right-hander Kyle Gibson needed only 67 pitches to get the first 15 outs, but the Sox forced him to throw 32 more in the sixth. His two-out wild pitch allowed Yoan Moncada to score with the first run of the game.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel worked into the seventh to give the Sox only their fifth quality start through 20 games. They had gone six games in a row without one, nearly matching their seasonlong seven-game drought to start the season.
Plan for Lance
Right-hander Lance Lynn, who is on the 10-day injured list with a strained trapezius muscle, said he is progressing well and expects to return for the series opener Friday against the Indians.
Lynn, who is 1-1 with a 0.92 ERA in his first three starts, first felt something during his start April 15 against the Indians. He allowed only two runs in six innings in that 93-pitch outing, but when he felt the ‘‘same sensation’’ in his subsequent bullpen session, the decision was made to shut him down for a bit.
‘‘We made sure it didn’t turn into anything crazy,’’ Lynn said. ‘‘We’re kind of slow-playing it here to make sure we don’t have any issues going [forward]. We wanted to make sure we got it all out of there.’’
Lynn expects to throw a third bullpen session Tuesday or Wednesday to make sure it’s all systems go for Friday. The noted workhorse took some solace in the fact early-season postponements and scheduled days off mean he won’t miss as many turns as he might have otherwise