The Chicago White Sox recalled Jake Burger from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday after center fielder Luis Robert was placed on the injured list related to COVID-19.
Burger was in the lineup Wednesday and hit a three-run homer to help the White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 3-1 in front of 21,075 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“The timing was right,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Great, great success.”
The White Sox were hitless until the fifth against Red Sox starter Rich Hill.
José Abreu broke up the no-hitter with a double to right field. AJ Pollock reached on a throwing error by third baseman Rafael Devers. Burger followed with the 444-foot home run, his third of the season.
“I want to play baseball and I want to compete, no matter where I am,” Burger said. “It’s kind of how I take it. Obviously, I hate to refer to the three years that I missed, but I was sitting on the couch for two and a half of those years. I’m going to do my best, no matter where I am.”
Burger missed all of 2018 after suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon in spring training, then missed all of 2019 due to a left heel contusion.
With the 2020 minor league season canceled due to the pandemic, Burger played in a local league in Missouri before joining the White Sox’s alternate site in Schaumburg.
He spent time with the White Sox and Charlotte last season.
“Take each day as a blessing,” Burger said.
Burger came in hitting .239 (17-for-71) in 21 games with the White Sox in 2022. He is hitting .213 (10-for-47) with three home runs and eight RBIs in 13 games with Charlotte.
“These last two weeks in Charlotte were good for me in terms of relaxing a little bit and not doing too much,” Burger said. “I have a tendency, a habit, to try to get ahead of every at-bat instead of taking it pitch by pitch and being able to control my emotion and not go overboard.”
The home run put White Sox starter Lucas Giolito in position for the win.
“I’ve had a little bit of ups and downs and it’s not pretty, but it just keeps proving time and time again that it’s very effective at this level,” Giolito said of Burger. “Great home run to give us the lead there. He has been a wonderful teammate, he works hard. I hope to see him contribute more.”
Giolito allowed one run on five hits with seven strikeouts and four walks in six innings. The run came in the first on a two-out hit by Alex Verdugo.
The Red Sox had at least two batters in each of the first four innings, but Giolito kept finding ways to get out of jams.
“It was routine,” Giolito said. “I really lacked rhythm and tempo in my delivery, especially at the beginning of the string. It led to very, very poor command of the fastball, sometimes not really knowing where my fastball was going. Luckily I was able to make good throws with baserunners early and limit the damage.”
Giolito credited receiver Reese McGuire for “keeping me locked up.”
“We really had to get that slider going,” Giolito said. “We did. That was a good pitch to work on. All the fastballs I was throwing down in the zone when I normally want to be up. I just worked and was able to find a good rhythm later in the game in the late innings.”
He was followed by relievers Aaron Bummer, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly and Liam Hendriks.
Kelly came out with a strained left hamstring after striking out two batters in the eighth. He will be reassessed on Thursday.
Hendriks got the last four outs for his 14th save.
“It just rained on this parade here,” La Russa said of Kelly’s injury. “It is difficult to enjoy the moment. That’s exciting, not just for the fans but for our team, when that kind of depth comes out (of the bullpen).
“But no one said it would be easy. We’ve been through this before. We’ll wait and see what kind of hamstring (injury) it is.”