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Zach Remillard: The unlikely, rookie hero lifts White Sox to extra-innings win

Remillard, 29, made his MLB debut with the White Sox on Saturday and provided some offensive star power

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That's how many games Zach Remillard, the 29-year-old White Sox rookie, played in the team's minor league system before getting his shot in the majors on Saturday. And, boy, he didn't take it for granted.

Remillard hit the game-tying and game-winning RBIs in the ninth and 11th innings, respectively, to lift the Sox to a series-splitting win. He piggybacked the White Sox to an extra-innings win over the Seattle Mariners, 4-3. Remillard finished 3-for-3 with a walk and 2 RBIs.

"What a day. What a memorable day," Remillard said to the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast after the game. "I got my family here. My wife's here. It's a dream come true. I prepared for this day for a long time. Just to get an opportunity to help the team in any way and execute it.

"It's never felt so good," he said after enduring a ceremonial ice bucket dunk and sunflower seed sprinkle.

Remillard did not start the game, nor expect to play.

A third-inning shoulder injury to Tim Anderson paved the way for Remillard to make his MLB debut, as he subbed in for the star shortstop at second base. Going back further than that, Remillard was called up because Yoán Moncada went on the 15-day injured list with back issues.

Anderson -- and Moncada's -- injury was a blessing and a curse for the Sox. Anderson has been playing suboptimally lately, and now an injury on top compounds his struggles. But Anderson's absence allowed Remillard to step up and become a catalyst for the Sox' offense, which was desolate on Saturday.

The White Sox went 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position. They grounded into four double plays and struck out 10 times against the Mariners. They were failing to cook up any formidable offense against Logan Gilbert, who pitched five innings and allowed two runs.

Before the game, Pedro Grifol tried his hand at switching the batting order in hopes of generating traffic on the bases. That included moving Anderson out of the leadoff spot and into second place in the batting order. Grifol handed Andrew Benintendi the keys to the leadoff spot; Benintendi reached base on all five plate appearances he saw, scoring one run.

It was a nitty-gritty win. It looked bleak for the White Sox heading into the final frame down one run. And after not scoring in the top of the 10th inning, most would have presumed the game final. But, through "resilience," as Grifol said postgame, and a 29-year-old rookie looking to impress on Day 1, the White Sox earned a hard-fought win.

"That was the best win of the year for us," Grifol said.

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