CHICAGO — White Sox rookie Seby Zavala hit the first three home runs of his career, including a grand slam, but the Cleveland Indians rallied to beat Chicago 12-11 on Saturday night.
Zavala became the first player in big league history to hit his first three career home runs in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. The 27-year-old catcher played his 18th game in the majors — he was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on July 6 to replace the injured Yasmani Grandal.
Batting ninth, Zavala hit a solo homer in the third off Triston McKenzie. Zavala connected for a grand slam off McKenize in the fourth for a 6-1 lead and a solo drive against Bryan Shaw in the seventh.
Seby Zavala is the 1st player in MLB history to hit his first 3 career home runs in the same game (pending inclusion of Negro League stats). pic.twitter.com/o4WxLM4MtQ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 1, 2021
“I always knew I could swing it,” Zavala said. “Going through a rough patch for a couple of months, I knew if I kept working, something would click and I feel pretty good at the plate.”
With a chance to become the 19th player to hit a record-tying four homers in a game, Zavala singled in the eighth and finished with six RBIs.
Zavala — who will turn 28 on Aug. 28 — played at San Diego State, finishing up with the Aztecs in 2015. Later that year, he was a 12th-round selection by Chicago in the June entry draft. He hit 20 home runs at Triple-A Charlotte in 2019.
His magic wasn’t enough to outpace the Indians on this night, however, as Austin Hedges, Owen Miller and Amed Rosario homered to help Cleveland overcome a five-run deficit.
The Indians totaled nine runs in three straight innings to take the lead. Justin Garza (1-0) threw two scoreless innings. Emmanuel Clase got five outs for his 13th save.
Brian Goodwin and Adam Engel homered for the White Sox, who lead the second-place Indians by eight games in the American League Central despite winning just three times in their past 10 games.
Michael Kopech (3-1) took the loss for the White Sox, allowing five earned runs in just one inning of work.
Perhaps more important to the long-term outlook of the White Sox staff, newly acquired Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth in his first appearance after they acquired him from the Cubs at the trade deadline Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.