CHICAGO – White Sox rookie catcher Josh Phegley was just trying to put the ball in play. He ended up getting the game-winning hit.
Phegley singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Sox to a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
"(Tanner) Scheppers, I've faced him in college. I know he's a hard-thrower and I just tried to get my foot down and get the barrel on something. I knew a strikeout wouldn't help us there, and if you can just get the bat on the ball and get something through the infield, game over."
Avisail Garcia singled with one out and went to third on Dayan Viciedo's hit one out later. Phegley then hit a line shot to left off Tanner Scheppers (5-2) to end the game.
Nate Jones (4-4) got the win in relief, while Scheppers (5-2) took the loss. The Sox have won seven of eight.
The Rangers, who lead the American League West, had their four-game winning streak snapped and wasted another strong outing by Yu Darvish, who gave up two runs in seven innings while striking out 11 for a no-decision. Darvish also battled out of a jam in the seventh inning — runners on first and third with none out — despite battling cramps in both legs.
"We battled but they got the big hit it counted," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We had our chances but we just didn't deliver. Other than that I thought we played a solid ballgame."
The Sox also got another solid effort from starter Hector Santiago, who allowed five hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings to lower his ERA to 3.25.
"He's doing well," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Santiago. "In the last inning to pull him, he hit a few guys here and there and I think it's part of being a little erratic at times, he gets himself in trouble. He has the stuff to get out of it, which is a nice thing to have. Just continue to have him go out there and compete. He's a tough kid that likes to compete."
Phegley didn't start the game and came on in the eighth after the team's other catcher, Tyler Flowers, had been pinch hit for in the seventh.
Veteran Adam Dunn provided the other Sox runs with a two-run homer in the sixth — to counter a two-run shot by former teammate Alex Rios in the top of the inning. Ventura was pleased to see his young players produce a winning rally.
"Garcia gets on there, (Viciedo) gets a base hit, it's fun," he said. "When you get young guys that are up here for the first time and Phegs gets a walk-off. That's all good stuff."
Even with the hit, Phegley, who was called up from the minors in July, still is batting just .213, so he was happy to take the pounding from his teammates a player gets following a walk-off hit.
It's awesome," he said. "It's the best beating of your life. I know (Gordon) Beckham was in there giving me some good shots to the mid-section, but no, it's tons of fun. As soon as you get that hit, you can't feel anything for the next 10 minutes. So it's great to celebrate with those guys."
NOTES: As part of the Civil Rights Game proceedings, Aretha Franklin and Bo Jackson were honored during the pregame ceremonies. Franklin couldn't attend and former Tigers great Willie Horton accepted in her honor. ... Before the game, White Sox manager Robin Ventura was asked how good Jackson might have been without the hip injury. "It's hard to describe him to people now of how strong, fast and smart of a baseball player he was," Ventura said. "He was good regardless. We'll never know, but I haven't seen anyone that's had his abilities since." Rangers RHP Nick Tepesch threw live batting practice on Saturday and reported no issues. ... RHP Matt Garza (9-2), a former Cub, makes his return to Chicago Sunday when he faces John Danks (3-10) in series finale.