ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Yermín Mercedes is yet to make an out this season.
One night after becoming the second player since 1900 to get five hits in his first career start, the 28-year-old Chicago White Sox rookie got hits in his first two plate appearances Saturday and became the first player in franchise history to begin a season 7 for 7.
Nobody in the majors has started a year with seven straight hits since Chris Stynes for Cincinnati in 1997.
Mercedes was supposed to have the night off against the Los Angeles Angels, but manager Tony La Russa said he earned his way into the lineup with Friday night's performance. Mercedes, who is the designated hitter for the second straight night, drove Alex Cobb's splitter beyond the wall in left field to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the second.
Mercedes followed that with a single to center in the fourth inning. He has hits in seven of his first eight MLB at-bats.
“I wanted to get Jake Lamb in there one of the days, today or tomorrow,” La Russa said before Saturday’s game. “I was kind of holding it open. I could have played (Billy) Hamilton or could have played (Andrew) Vaughn at DH. It was open until Mercedes earned it.”
The only players since 1900 to get five hits in their first career start are Mercedes and Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators, who went 5 for 7 in 1933. Fred Clarke also did it for the Louisville Colonels in 1894.
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