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Eloy's pair of 3-run HRs get White Sox to .500

Giolito first to 10 wins in Majors as Chicago tops Yankees
@scottmerkin
June 15, 2019

CHICAGO -- Excuse the White Sox if they took a little time to celebrate reaching .500 following a 10-2 victory over the Yankees before 31,438 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. Yes, their 34-34 record only means they break even, the literal definition of average. But with the losses

CHICAGO -- Excuse the White Sox if they took a little time to celebrate reaching .500 following a 10-2 victory over the Yankees before 31,438 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Yes, their 34-34 record only means they break even, the literal definition of average. But with the losses they’ve endured over the last two years during the rebuild, hitting this mark is a sign of much greater things to come.

Box score

“It means a lot,” said White Sox left fielder Eloy Jiménez, who homered twice and drove in six during the team’s second straight victory over New York and fourth in five games this season. “For us, we are going to keep pushing and we are going to try to get a spot in the playoffs.”

"We've been climbing. We've been playing better baseball, more consistent baseball,” said White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, who extended his career-high winning streak to nine and won his eighth straight start. “We're playing really well at home, which is huge. I'm happy we're at .500. It's kind of like a turning point and we just keep going from there.”

The White Sox improved to 11-5 overall since May 27, 9-2 in their last 11 home games and 19-10 at home since April 15. In the process, Jimenez basically announced his Major League arrival. His two home runs gave him five in the last 13 games to go along with a .348 average, four doubles and 14 RBIs.

Jimenez’s most important blast came in the first. After Luke Voit’s home run staked the Yankees to a 1-0 lead and ended Giolito’s career-high scoreless innings streak at 22, Jimenez connected on a first-pitch cutter from CC Sabathia in the bottom half of the frame and laced a three-run blast to right-center. That drive came with two outs, after Sabathia struck out James McCann to hold runners at first and third.

When asked what pitch he hit from Sabathia, Jimenez paused, shook his head, smiled and honestly replied “I don’t know” before adding he thought it was a fastball. Whatever the pitch, it worked for Jimenez and the White Sox.

“Man, he's a beast,” Giolito said. “He's coming into his own a little bit. They've been pitching him like a 10-year vet ever since he got into the league, but he's starting to dial in on his approach and he's showing the power a little bit. I'll take it. I'll take 10 runs for sure.”

“I feel more patient at the plate,” Jimenez said. “I’m seeing the ball better because I don’t rush anything. I just go into the game and if it happens, it happens. I feel really good. I’m starting to enjoy the game more and now, you see the results.”

Giolito took over the Major League lead in victories with No. 10. He became the ninth White Sox pitcher since at least 1913 to start a season 10-1 and has a 1.67 ERA (13 earned runs in 70 innings) since his last loss, dropping his ERA to 2.22. In what he described as a grinder sort of game, Giolito struck out six, walked four and allowed four hits over six-plus innings and 104 pitches.

“Obviously, that’s a hot pitcher right now,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “The guy’s been throwing the ball really well. He settled in and showed us why he’s been so tough.”

This duo of Jimenez and Giolito helped the White Sox reach .500 for the first time since they were 3-3 on April 5. But if you want to get technical, it’s the first time they’ve reached .500 this late in the season since they were 50-50 on July 26, 2016.

It’s of little wonder quiet confidence was flowing through their postgame clubhouse.

“Everybody is playing hard right now, and we enjoy the game and we enjoy winning too,” Jimenez said. “That’s why we keep working hard and we are going to be good.”

“We can be one of the best teams in the league,” Giolito said. “We 100 percent have the talent. We have more talent on the way developing in the Minor Leagues. The sky’s the limit for us. Absolutely.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.