ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Justin Upton’s homer capped a three-run rally in the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels, helped by a flyball that bounced off the head of White Sox center fielder Luis Robert, beat hot-hitting Yermín Mercedes and Chicago 5-3 Saturday night.
Mercedes homered, doubled and singled to become the first player since at least 1900 to begin a season with eight straight hits. The 28-year-old rookie flied out in his final at-bat, ending the streak.
The Angels trailed 3-2 going into the eighth. Anthony Rendon singled with one out and scored the tying run on Jared Walsh’s triple. Upton then supplied the game-winning shot, sending a changeup from Evan Marshall (0-1) over the wall in left.
Walsh had two hits and two RBIs while David Fletcher also had two hits. Junior Guerra (1-0) got the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
The Angels got a gift in the third.
Rendon’s routine high fly appeared to be the final out of the inning, but the ball caromed off Robert’s head after he charged in and called off shortstop Tim Anderson.
Right fielder Adam Eaton retrieved the ball after the crazy bounce and tried to throw out Fletcher at the plate. But Eaton’s throw bounced off the mound and then carried all the way to the backstop, Eaton to score and allowing Rendon to advance to second. Walsh then hit an RBI single for a 2-1 lead.
Mercedes was supposed to have the night off, but manager Tony La Russa said he earned his way into the lineup with Friday night’s performance, when he became the second player in the modern era to have five hits in his first MLB start.
Mercedes, who was the designated hitter for the second straight night, hit a solo homer off Alex Cobb in the second.
Mercedes followed that with a single to center in the fourth inning and an RBI double to left-center in the sixth to put the White Sox up 3-2.
MORE FIELDING WOES
La Russa said before the game that he wasn’t worried about the White Sox making three errors in their first two games, but he might start to reconsider that after two more errors, which came on the Roberts play.
Seven of the Angels’ runs in this series have been unearned.
Robert and Eaton made up for their mistakes at the plate. Robert had an RBI single in the fourth to tie it at 2 while Eaton had two hits.
Cobb and Lance Lynn did not earn a decision in the first start for their clubs.
Cobb, who was acquired from Baltimore in February, allowed three runs in six innings.
Lynn, who came to the White Sox in a trade from Texas, saw his streak of throwing 100-plus pitches end at 37 straight starts. He allowed two runs (none earned) in 4 2/3 innings and was pulled at 99 pitches.
Angels: RHP Félix Peña (right hamstring strain) has started running and could throw his first bullpen session early next week.
Shohei Ohtani is back on the mound for the first time since Aug. 2 of last season for the series finale. The right-hander allowed seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in a pair of starts last season.
The White Sox will counter with right-hander Dylan Cease (5-4, 4.01 ERA last season), who is 0-1 in two previous starts against the Angels.
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