Vaughn savors 1st HR: 'Like I was on moon'

White Sox rookie launches it 436 feet; Hamilton (4 hits) flirts with cycle

May 13th, 2021

CHICAGO -- If 's mom wants to avoid finding out about a surprise Mother’s Day gift arriving soon, she probably wants to skip the rest of this tale on a 13-8 victory for the White Sox over the Twins on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The rookie left fielder mentioned a special present he was sending to her during his postgame Zoom call, basically explaining why his father was then going to be receiving the baseball from his first career home run launched in the fourth inning. Vaughn’s blast traveled a projected 436 feet to center and had an exit velocity of 110.9 mph, raising the White Sox lead to 6-3. The ball was retrieved for the No. 12 prospect overall, per MLB Pipeline, and now will become a family keepsake.

“That was a pretty special moment,” Vaughn said. “It came at a good time, too. It gave us a little bit of a lead. I’ll never forget it. I knew on this one tonight. It felt pretty good.

“Dad is going to get the ball, but it’s really for the whole family. My family has been everything to me. They’ve helped me become the person and ballplayer I am today. So, I just want to thank them every single time I can.”

Vaughn’s blast represented one of the night’s many standout offensive moments as the White Sox beat up the Twins for a second straight game and won their fifth straight, with all five coming against Kansas City or Minnesota. They knocked out 14 hits, with seven going for extra bases, and hung a career-worst nine earned runs on Twins starter J.A. Happ over 3 1/3 innings.

For the fourth straight game, Chicago scored at least nine runs, and has outscored the opposition, 43-15, during this run.

“We're playing some good ball,” said starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who is 2-1 on the season. “Besides scoring a ton of runs right now, you can't really say one thing is outshining the other.

“It's almost like we're playing great quality defense, putting a bunch of hits together. Besides tonight, we're getting some really, really good starting pitching. That's a great recipe for success. If we can do that against the Twins, especially, then we're going to be very, very well off. Because that's still a really, really quality lineup."

José Abreu drove in three runs with a triple and a single, moving him past 700 RBIs for his career. Abreu also made three stellar defensive plays at first base, continuing to look like an American League Gold Glove Award candidate.

Billy Hamilton matched a career-high with four hits and was a home run shy of the cycle. He admitted going for the long ball during one pitch in his final at-bat in the sixth, before settling for a single to right.

“Home runs are not my job,” Hamilton said. “I want to get hits, get on base and do what I can to help this team win.”

Wednesday’s loss dropped the Twins to nine back of the White Sox, who sit at a season-high 21-13 and eight games over .500, while maintaining a one-game lead in the American League Central over Cleveland. Even a sweep would not exactly crush Minnesota’s division chances.

Manager Tony La Russa made that point clear before the three-game set began. Then again, the White Sox not only have beaten the Twins but also knocked them down.

“It's nice to get wins in division and we're going to have to get plenty of them to win the division, but when we can get a couple consecutive wins in a row against the Royals and the Twins, anybody on this team will take them,” Keuchel said. “We're not really looking at records right now. We're just trying to pile on the wins and fortunately for us, we've done a really, really good job with that.”

“This group of guys is really really great,” Hamilton said. “We lost two of our big key players and for us guys to battle every single day, a lot of people doubted us when those two guys went down. I feel like we’re playing well as a team. Everybody is picking each other up.”

On Wednesday, Vaughn was one of the heroes. And his father soon will have the baseball to remember the long ball moment.

“I was just excited. I felt like I was on the moon floating around the bases,” Vaughn said. “it’s definitely a good feeling. But I’ve always tried to be myself and be a hitter first. That’s very important, being a hitter and the power will come.