SEATTLE -- Who needs Luis Robert?
Hours after the White Sox reportedly added another potential building block for the rebuild with a massive deal, Avisail Garcia continued his not-so-fast, I’m-still-here campaign.
Garcia matched a club record with four extra-base hits, including two home runs, and drove in a career-high six runs as the White Sox pounded the Seattle Mariners 16-1 in front of 33,801 at Safeco Field. Matt Davidson and Willy Garcia also homered for the White Sox, who have never scored more runs in Seattle. Willy Garcia’s homer was the first of his career and it all came in support of Mike Pelfrey, who earned the victory with six sharp innings.
“Pretty impressive,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s been having really good at-bats. He’s driving the ball. That’s a pretty good poke to center, right-center field, whatever it was. Just in general opened up the game a little for us in the first inning with the homer and everybody kind of tacked on. That’s kind of been Avi all year long, it’s pretty consistent. He’s had very few lulls and let’s hope it continues for him.”
The White Sox would love if Saturday’s events repeated again and again like in the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’
An intense, month-long competition for the services of Robert, a 19-year-old Cuban outfielder with all the tools, ended with multiple reports that he selected the White Sox over the St. Louis Cardinals. Robert gives the White Sox another huge piece for their just-begun rebuild effort and looks like he could be ranked as high as the third overall prospect in the farm system.
The good times continued to roll in the first inning against Yovani Gallardo.
Yolmer Sanchez drew a leadoff walk and Melky Cabrera reached on an error. Jose Abreu doubled in a run and Avisail Garcia continued his onslaught against American League pitching with a three-run homer to left to make it 4-0.
But Avisail Garcia wasn’t done yet, not even close. He crushed another home run to dead center off Gallardo in the third inning to put the White Sox up by five.
The White Sox led by eight runs -- Willy Garcia had a sac fly and Cabrera singled in two -- the next time Avisail Garcia stepped in. He ripped a hard liner over shortstop and into the gap for a two-run double and a 10-0 lead. Avisail Garcia doubled once more in the seventh inning ahead of a two-run single by Todd Frazier. He finished 4-for-5 and became the first White Sox hitter since Jermaine Dye on Aug. 2, 2007 with four extra base hits.
“I mean, I feel good, seeing the ball good,” Avisail Garcia said. “When you focus a lot of good thing happen so. It’s a long season. Keep working hard and play hard every day.
“Every year you want to get better and every year you want to improve. That’s how we play. You have to play that way every year. That’s the game you love. So you want to do good and do good things for your team.”
Avisail Garcia has flourished in what could potentially be his last chance with the White Sox. Despite showing flashes of potential, he’d never been able to sustain the last two seasons in spite of high expectations. Avisail Garcia credits an improved focus at the plate as one of the keys to his success as he has finally begun to tap into the star potential that he was labeled with since his days as a prospect with the Detroit Tigers.
He’s hitting .357/.400/.610 in 165 plate appearances.
Pelfrey took advantage of his teammate’s big day and worked quickly to get the White Sox offense back in the dugout. Pelfrey limited the Mariners to a run and four hits in six innings and struck out three.
A veteran of the AL Central, Pelfrey is familiar with Avisail Garcia’s game. He knew the potential within and thinks there might be even more to tap into.
“You see the talent,” Pelfrey said. “But until you get the chance to play with somebody, you see it day in, day out. It's always a little bit different. He's got all the talent in the world and is obviously putting it together and having a pretty good start. As big as he is and as strong as he is, there might be a couple more multi-HR games.”
Davidson also tied Avisail Garcia and Abreu for the team lead with eight homers when he blasted a two-run shot in the seventh. Willy Garcia reached the second deck in left for his first round-tripper, a 401-foot blast. He finished with three RBIs.
Every White Sox player had a hit.