There is no debate that after Monday night’s loss and the front office’s trade deadline performance, positive vibes were hard to find. However, even though the feeling is likely temporary, the White Sox (52-51) brightened Tuesday’s mood with a lopsided victory over the Royals (41-63).
The South Siders uncharacteristically got off to a great start on offense. With one out in the first, Andrew Vaughn hit a triple, which is quite an unusual occurrence. In fact, that was Vaughn’s first triple at any level of professional baseball. Eloy Jiménez followed with an RBI single to drive in the first run of the game, and the White Sox were not done. Jiménez advanced to second on a wild pitch by Brad Keller, and he scored on a single by José Abreu. Yoán Moncada drew a walk, and AJ Pollock had the third RBI single of the inning to make it 3-0.
Many of White Sox’s struggles this season have been due to their lack of power, and most of this big inning was a result of singles with low launch angles. Those types of hits are not typically sustainable at high rates. However, the White Sox happily accepted their early lead.
The Royals stuck their noses back into the game in the third inning. After Lucas Giolito opened the inning by issuing back-to-back walks, Kansas City had runners on the corners with one out after a fly out to right. Salvador Pérez, the next hitter, hit a ground ball to Tim Anderson’s left. It was a tough play, but if Anderson had fielded the ball cleanly, the inning likely would have ended in a 6-4-3 double play. Unfortunately, Anderson could not find the ears on the ball, and everyone was safe (Pérez received credit for a single). With two outs in a two-run game, Hunter Dozier cut into the Royals’ deficit in half with an RBI double to make it 3-2.
Despite that rough top of the third, however, this was the South Siders’ night, as the Royals never got closer. In the fourth, Jiménez padded the lead with a two-run double down the left-field line. Even though it was still early on in the game, Jiménez had already collected three hits and three RBIs.
In the sixth, Mike Matheny kept Keller in the game, perhaps to make him eat innings in a game that was a long shot for the Royals. Regardless of the reasoning, the White Sox broke the game open against him. Josh Harrison, Anderson, and Vaughn opened the inning with consecutive singles to load the bases.
That brought up Jiménez, who was looking to turn his huge night into an enormous night, and he nearly did. Jiménez cranked a slider from Keller to the warning track, but the blast fell just a few feet short of being a grand slam. Harrison scored easily on the sac fly, however, to make it 6-2. Since this game was as one-sided as it was, this did not turn out to be a crucial play, but Anderson got doubled up trying to advance to third. As a result, Abreu’s next at-bat was only a two-run homer instead of three runs, and it was 8-2, White Sox.
Keller’s final line was 5 2⁄3 innings, eight runs (all earned), 13 hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. Not too good.
Meanwhile, after the unfortunate third inning, Giolito settled down nicely, and the Royals had trouble solving him. His line ended up this way: five innings, two runs (both earned), five hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts. Overall, Giolito looked a lot more like the version of himself we saw from 2019-21.
Down the stretch, Gavin Sheets added an insurance run with a solo shot, and new friend Jake Diekman retired all three batters he faced. Joe Kelly, Matt Foster, and Tanner Banks each pitched a scoreless inning of relief apiece as well. Also, although he did not drive in any runs, Vaughn reached base four times, as he added two singles and a walk to his early triple.
The White Sox will be right back in action tomorrow, and that game is scheduled to begin at 1:10 p.m. Central. NBC Sports Chicago will televise the game, and WMVP 1000 AM will have the radio coverage. Both the Twins and Guardians lost tonight, so the White Sox are back to just two games out of first place and one out of second.
Let’s keep the momentum rolling and take the rubber match.