CHICAGO -- Eloy Jiménez went where very few White Sox players have gone before with his 462-foot home run leading off the fourth inning of a 7-5 White Sox victory over the Nationals Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
That blast off Washington’s Patrick Corbin marked Jimenez’s first career home long ball and his first ever homer off a left-handed pitcher. The ball hit the concourse just to the right of a stairway leading up to a fan deck under the center-field scoreboard -- a general territory known for Jim Thome’s mammoth clout in the White Sox 1-0 victory over the Twins in 2008 during a play-in game to claim the American League Central title.
It also drew reactions of extreme admiration from his teammates.
“That guy right there [pointing to Jose Abreu], he said I’m not 22 years old because I hit the ball too far,” said a smiling Jimenez after the White Sox improved to 7-2 over their last nine home games. “But the other guys say, 'Where’s that coming from?' I say, ‘I don’t know.’”
“Guys that have a lot of talent kind of grow exponentially. He's just scratching it,” said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Jimenez. “He put together some pretty good at-bats today. Hopefully it will just continue.”
At 462 feet, Jimenez’s ninth home run is the longest home run at Guaranteed Rate since Statcast began tracking in 2015, and the sixth-longest by a White Sox player in the ballpark’s history. And with his 471-foot homer on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, he now has the team's top two distances of the season. Jimenez also became the fifth player this season to have multiple 460-foot-plus homers, joining Josh Bell, Ronald Acuna, Bryce Harper and Jonathan Schoop.
However, just as much attention should be paid to Jimenez’s first-inning at-bat, with runners on first and second, two outs and the White Sox already down by two. Jimenez fell behind to Corbin at 1-2, laid off some close pitches and drew a walk to load the bases. Welington Castillo connected three pitchers later for his second career grand slam, giving the White Sox control they would never relinquish.
That first inning with Corbin and Manny Banuelos on the mound took 35 minutes and featured 62 pitches (32 strikes), six runs, three hits, four walks and seven full counts as the White Sox won for the first time in four tries against the Nationals this season to improve to 32-34.
Alex Colome finished off the victory by recording the final five outs for his 14th straight save, throwing 39 pitches with Renteria taking advantage of Wednesday’s off-day. Colome pitched out of a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the eighth, retiring Adam Eaton on a fly ball to left center after falling behind 3-0 in the count.
This night still belonged to Jimenez, who had gone 69 plate appearances without a Guaranteed Rate home run. He added a run-scoring hustle double in the sixth and a nice catch in left in the eighth to complete a solid night’s work.
A fan also gave the home run ball back to Jimenez, although the gregarious outfielder wasn’t sure what he traded in return.
“I’m going to put it in my room and I’m going to watch it every single day,” Jimenez said. “I feel good. I know I’m getting better, and that is pretty much one of the best games. But there are more to come.”