It only took two pitches for the direction of the division-clinching game to be determined. Tim Anderson sent pitch No. 2 388 feet into the Progressive Field stands off of Aaron Civale, and sent and indicator of things to come.
TIM ANDERSON! LET'S GO! pic.twitter.com/XPDzRwrdkd— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 23, 2021
Civale, who threw more hangers than an angry chimp in a dry cleaners, managed to get through the first inning without more damage, but the rules say you have to move on to inning two. Luis Robert greeted that one with a 396-footer, and Eloy Jiménez bested that with a 442-foot rocket.
There's ✨ magic ✨ in the air today!#ChangeTheGame | @NBCSChicago pic.twitter.com/ZoIF2fKxSX— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 23, 2021
Anderson’s had a lot of help from a strong wind, but those two didn’t, and after singles by Leury García and César Hernández, Tim decided to show he can do it without Mother Nature’s help as well, with a 104-mph, 386-foot drive that got him a trifle excited.
6th career multi-homer game for Tim Anderson! pic.twitter.com/UrQo27PwHQ— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 23, 2021
Two walks and a Robert single later it was 7-0, and Civale departed, much to the dismay of the White Sox, though it was way too late. The Sox threatened a couple of times against three Cleveland relievers, but didn’t score and didn’t need to.
Meanwhile, Reynaldo López started out as if auditioning for a postseason start if Carlos Rodón is injured, giving up just one hit and getting four K’s through 2 1⁄3 innings. Things then got a little dicier, with an Austin Hedges homer in the third and one by Bobby Bradley in the fourth, at which point the HOFBP decided the audition was over, even though it was still just 7-2, in a seven-inning game.
White Sox relievers were as successful as those from the soon-to-be-Guardians, with strong outings by Garrett Crochet, Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks, around another very mediocre one by Craig Kimbrel, who once more looked to be auditioning for a seat in the stands in the playoffs.
Kimbrel hit Bradley Zimmer on the toe to start the sixth, after which Zimmer helped him out immensely by trying to steal second, down five runs and with the meat of the order coming up. After Zimmer was tossed out, Kimbrel issued a couple of walks to try to keep things interesting, but they would have been a lot more tense if Zimmer hadn’t been so incredibly stupid, and Cleveland didn’t score.
Anderson finished with three hits, including the two dingers, and four RBIs, and Hernández touched his former team for three singles as the White Sox totaled 11 hits. Yasmani Grandal had an unusually bad day amidst his current torrid streak, 0-for-4 with three whifferoonies.
The nightcap of the split seven-inning doubleheader is set for 5:10 p.m. Central, with Michael Kopech, perhaps doing a little audition of his own, facing Zach Plesac.