Mercedes 1st modern player to open year 8 for 8, streak ends

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Yermín Mercedes finally made an out, but not before the Chicago White Sox rookie became the first player since at least 1900 to begin a season with eight straight hits.

The 28-year-old Mercedes got hits his first three times up Saturday night against the Los Angeles Angels before a flyout in the eighth inning.

On Friday night, Mercedes became the second player in the modern era to get five hits in his first career start.

The previous best start was by Cincinnati's Chris Stynes, who started 1997 with seven straight hits.

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.

Mercedes, Chicago's designated hitter for the second straight night, homered off Alex Cobb's splitter to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the second. Mercedes followed that with a single in the fourth and an RBI double in the sixth.

Before this season, Mercedes had only one at-bat in the majors, making an out in his debut last year.

“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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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press