Garcia's big moment could spark breakout

Slugger's 3-run homer puts away game vs. Indians, could be sign of things to come

Garcia's big moment could spark breakout

CHICAGO -- The knockout punch during the White Sox 7-3 victory over the Indians Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field was delivered via Avisail Garcia's three-run homer to right field with two outs in a five-run seventh.

It was the at-bats prior to Garcia's first long ball of the season that really set the tone for the late-game rally.

Austin Jackson opened the frame with a six-pitch at-bat resulting in a single to left. Todd Frazier battled through six pitches with the bases loaded and nobody out to bring home Jackson with the tying run on a fielder's-choice grounder to shortstop Francisco Lindor, and it was Melky Cabrera's single to right off of a Bryan Shaw changeup that brought home Jimmy Rollins with the go-ahead run.
 

Cabrera's go-ahead single

That Cabrera plate appearance covered nine pitches, including three foul balls when the count went full. Garcia had a chance to see pretty much everything Shaw had to offer.

"Those guys have a lot of experience, and they know how they're going to pitch to them, so I learn," Garcia said. "The way they're going to pitch them is the way they're going to pitch me. I try to see the ball and hit the ball and don't try to do too much."

"Just what a roller coaster of emotions right there," said White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale, who improved to 2-0 thanks to the seventh-inning rally. "Having that in your back pocket is nice. Just shows the attitude, the difference. Whatever it is, we've got it."

Garcia opened the season with two hits in his first 18 at-bats and was picked off of first during Friday's home-opener loss. In a year that many hope will see Garcia's breakout performance to match his talent, the first-week showing wasn't what he wanted.

But Garcia singled on an 0-2 pitch from Cody Anderson in the fourth and connected with the count at 0-2 again for the three-run homer. It might be a game that quickly turns around Garcia.

"It's part of shortening him up and not having such a big swing," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Garcia. "He's so strong that it doesn't need to be a really big swing for him to get something in the gap.

"He's a strong kid. He'll shorten up and put the barrel on it and learn some leverage that goes to it. You can have some stuff jump like that without using your whole body and swinging kind of a wild swing."

Saturday's finish represented a potential sign of things to come for Garcia and the sort of excitement the White Sox hope to continue.

"When you can punch teams in the mouth late in ballgames like that, it sets the tone," White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie said.

"We all know what's going on here," Sale said. "We just keep riding until the last out."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.