Bombs away: Burger hits big 3-run homer to lift White Sox over Red Sox
On May 9, the White Sox activated Yoan Moncada off the injured list.
Someone had to go, and Jake Burger was the logical choice. A third baseman like Moncada, Burger was optioned to Class AAA Charlotte to open a roster spot.
Before he headed back to the minor leagues, general manager Rick Hahn said goodbye to Burger, but not so long.
"Jake obviously filled in very well for us, showed that he belongs as a viable big leaguer," Hahn said. "Pretty confident we'll see him again contributing to us at some point here over the course of the summer."
When center fielder Luis Robert was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list Tuesday, Burger returned from Charlotte.
The Sox's 2017 first-round draft pick was in the starting lineup against Boston Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field and Burger had the big hit in a 3-1 win over the Red Sox.
Batting sixth as the designated hitter, Burger launched a 3-run homer off Red Sox starter Rich Hill. He connected on a hanging slider clocked at only 67 mph, but Burger hit it 444 feet to give the White Sox's offense a needed jolt.
"It was definitely reactionary," Burger said. "Rich had been throwing really well all night. The pitch before that was very similar and I swung over it. Fortunately, he came back with it."
How long he sticks with the Sox this time around remains to be seen, not that Burger is losing any sleep over it.
"I think from an aspect of moving your stuff around and never really having a home base, that's the tough side," he said. "But I want to play baseball and I want to compete, no matter where I'm at. That's kind of how I take it."
Lucas Giolito started for the White Sox and, just like Dylan Cease the night before, he had some early struggles.
After getting two quick outs in the first inning, Giolito gave up a single, walk and a run-scoring single to Alex Verdugo.
Unlike Cease, who was tagged for 7 runs over 3 innings, Giolito kept grinding and didn't allow another run while going 6 innings. The right-hander threw 101 pitches.
"I really lacked rhythm and tempo in my delivery, especially out of the windup early," Giolito said. "That led to really, really poor fastball command. But luckily I was able to make good pitches with runners on base early and limit the damage."
Reliever Joe Kelly struck out the first two Red Sox hitters he faced in the eighth inning before limping off the mound with a left hamstring strain. The injury didn't look good and he'll be re-evaluated Thursday.