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Robert’s epic HR helps White Sox snap skid

Anderson, Encarnación also go deep to back Cease
@scottmerkin
September 4, 2020

Nobody said that the White Sox reaching the postseason was going to be easy. Just look at their 11-6 victory over the Royals on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium as an example. • Box score Sure, the final score looks somewhat lopsided, but the White Sox watched a 6-1 lead in

Nobody said that the White Sox reaching the postseason was going to be easy.

Just look at their 11-6 victory over the Royals on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium as an example.

Box score

Sure, the final score looks somewhat lopsided, but the White Sox watched a 6-1 lead in the top of the sixth turn into a slim 6-4 advantage by the time the Royals were done hitting in their half of the inning. When you have the White Sox firepower, though, that sort of challenge can be answered with a five-spot in the top of the seventh, which helped the South Siders move back within a half-game of the Indians atop the American League Central and end their brief two-game losing streak.

It was a much-needed strong performance following Wednesday night’s 8-1 loss to the Twins. But it almost was expected from this young team coming of age and showing unwavering resilience.

“I guess we had to see how bad we could be to see how good we could be,” said White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, who had three hits, two runs scored, two RBIs and raised his average to an American League-best .347. “Definitely a great win to bounce back from last night, because last night was ugly. Hopefully we can build off of that one.

“Last night was so bad that we were all ready to get back out there to get better results. It showed tonight. It showed what kind of ballclub we are.”

Luis Robert finished off the White Sox second five-run inning of the night in the seventh with his 11th home run -- a 458-foot, three-run blast off of Jake Newberry that left the bat at 113 mph. Robert now has six homers with an exit velocity of 110 mph or higher, which is the most in MLB, per Statcast.

His home run on a 2-0 slider drew a shocked dugout reaction from teammate Adam Engel, captured on the television broadcast. Robert smiled and said in English how his teammates observed, “Wow, you are strong,” after he circled the bases. But Robert wasn’t sure this home run was the longest he's ever hit.

“There was one that I hit in [Double-A] Birmingham that was very long,” Robert said through interpreter Billy Russo. “I'm not sure if that was as long as this one. There was another one that I hit over the bull [at the Rays' Triple-A Durham site], but again, I don't know if that one was as long as this one. Those are the two I can compare with the one that I hit today.”

“He impresses us all the time,” Anderson said of Robert. “He seems like he’s hitting the ball farther and farther and all around the ballpark. He has power, and it’s showing. I’m very happy with where he is and we are going to stay on him and continue to push him to continue to get better.”

Edwin Encarnación and Anderson also went deep, ending the White Sox homerless drought at two games. Both were connections off Danny Duffy, another lefty added to the list of the White Sox 12-0 run this season against southpaw starters, and supporting Dylan Cease, who allowed three runs on four hits in five-plus innings.

“At the end of the day, I'm just trying to execute pitches,” Cease said. “Ideally, you get the batter out in three or four pitches. Again, today I didn't execute that great, still wasted a lot of pitches. So there's a lot of room for improvement."

José Abreu also extended his hit streak to 17 games with a 2-for-5, three-RBI night.

This win improved the White Sox to 23-15 overall, 12-6 on the road, 16-10 within the division and 6-1 against the Royals. But again, Thursday was far from a walk in the park. The Royals loaded the bases in the ninth off of Steve Cishek and a video review going in favor of the White Sox on Edward Olivares’ groundout to Danny Mendick to end the game prevented the tying run from coming to the plate.

“A little early on, earlier in the season, we were a little lax for a couple of games. But other than that, it's been intense,” Cease said. “We're going to continue to do what we've been doing. Everybody's coming to the ballpark ready to play."

“Today's game was important,” Robert said. “Getting the victory was important, but as important as it's going to be in tomorrow's game or the next game. At this point of the season, every game counts and every game is very important, especially in the position that we are in right now."

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