White Sox rookie Seby Zavala first in MLB history to hit his first three career home runs in same game

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Seby Zavala hits 3 home runs — including a grand slam — but the Chicago White Sox fall to the Cleveland Indians 12-11

Chicago Tribune 31 July, 2021 - 11:19pm

Moments later, Chicago White Sox catcher Seby Zavala popped his head out of the dugout and waved.

The curtain call came after Zavala had just hit a grand slam, his second of three homers Saturday against the Cleveland Indians.

“I thought they were messing around with me, to be honest, and then kind of stepped up a little bit and saw the fans going crazy,” Zavala said.

Zavala had a night to remember. According to Elias, he became the first player in major-league history to hit his first home run as part of a three home run night.

Zavala went 4-for-4 with the three home runs, a single and six RBIs. But the Indians also had some impressive hitting, topping the Sox 12-11 in front of 35,866 fans.

“I always knew I could swing it,” Zavala said. “But going through a rough patch for a couple of months. I knew if I kept working something would click and I feel pretty good at the plate. Even this past week, I didn’t do much at the plate but I’ve been feeling pretty good and I was able to get some pitches today and not miss them.

“I wish we could have came out with the win. It feels good. I was able to put some runs across the board. We battled to the very last second. We didn’t win, but we fought hard.”

The four hits and six RBIs were career highs. He entered Saturday’s game 4-for-28 with one RBI in 12 games this season.

He became the 17th player (18th time) in Sox history to hit three-plus home runs in a game, the first since José Abreu on Aug. 22, 2020, against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

“It was just so special,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He was so productive. They were all well-hit balls and timely, everything helped us (with) a chance to win. Can’t give him enough credit.”

Zavala is the first Sox catcher to record a three-homer game.

“That was one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time,” Sox starter Dallas Keuchel said.

Zavala helped the Sox build a five-run lead.

He hit a solo home run to center, the first of his big-league career, against Indians starter Triston McKenzie in the third inning.

“When I hit it I was like ‘Dang, I just missed that pitch’ but it kept going and going,” Zavala said. “Luckily it went over. It was a good feeling seeing my teammates on top of the top spot in the dugout.”

Zavala’s next at-bat came one inning later. This time, the bases were loaded. He hit a 2-0 fastball over the left-field wall, giving the Sox a 6-1 lead.

“I was like, ‘I can’t miss the heater,’ " Zavala said. " ‘If he throws me a slider and I’m out in front, who cares?’ But I was like, ‘I’m not missing a heater.’ ”

The Indians scored the next nine runs, including five in the sixth, to take a 10-6 lead. Keuchel allowed five runs on five hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 5⅓ innings.

“This is probably the best physically I’ve felt all season,” Keuchel said. “I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand very well. Sinking, cutting. Mixing the changeup and the slider very well but kind of fell victim in the fourth inning to a lackadaisical mechanical flaw. If I clean that up, we’ll be all right.”

Reliever Michael Kopech had a rare off night, allowing five runs on five hits in one inning.

“He was making some really good pitches and they were taking them,” Zavala said. “I’m going to check out the video to see if they had anything on him or what was going on. Because there were some pitches that should have gotten a little bit more of a check swing. They looked too good off of him.”

Zavala hit a solo home run to right in the seventh against reliever Bryan Shaw. The Sox scored one more run in the inning.

The Indians scored twice in the eighth, extending their lead to 12-8. Zavala singled and scored during a three-run eighth for the Sox, but they couldn’t complete the comeback.

“It was fun,” Zavala said. “I wish we could have won.”

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Cleveland Indians rally past White Sox, 12-11, as Emmanuel Clase gets 5-out save

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