CHICAGO -- On a bitterly cold night, with temperatures hovering near freezing at U.S. Cellular Field, no one needed to get hotter more than Darnell McDonald.
McDonald came into Friday's game with a batting average of .100, and his playing time had been reduced ever since the acquisition of Marlon Byrd.
But getting into the lineup against lefty John Danks, McDonald made the most of his opportunity. With the bases full in the sixth inning, he laced a three-run double to left. Then, in his final at-bat in the ninth, he added a solo homer, giving him a career-best four RBI.
"It's definitely better than going 0-for,'' said McDonald. "It's a crazy game. You go from feeling so good in spring training and starting the season off to not feeling good up there at the plate. I had two at-bats tonight where I didn't feel good and I just told myself, 'Just simplify things. Just go up there and try to see the ball, hit the ball and just go back to Little League.
"You start thinking about too many things and it's tough to hit that way.''
As an extra outfielder, McDonald has gone from regular, almost daily at-bats in spring training to playing only a couple of times per weeks. It's never an easy adjustment.
"It's tough,''acknowledged McDonald. "But that's my role, so I try to do the best I can to prepare myself for my at-bats. I think the toughest part is you have to sleep on those (unsuccessful) at-bats and wait until your next go-around. But hitting is contagious and guys have been swinging the bats really well and I was able to get in there and get a couple of knocks tonight.''
In the sixth, with three baserunners aboard, McDonald abandoned his approach to take the perfect swing and instead focused on being aggressive.
"I was able to put the barrell on the baseball,'' he said.