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'Dangerous' White Sox hit 5 HRs vs. Reds

@alysonfooter
September 19, 2020

Tim Anderson had quite a night at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Saturday. He hit two homers, led his team to a 5-0 win over the Reds and was able to pull off a little good-natured trolling of Trevor Bauer, all the while holding a conversation with two

Tim Anderson had quite a night at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Saturday. He hit two homers, led his team to a 5-0 win over the Reds and was able to pull off a little good-natured trolling of Trevor Bauer, all the while holding a conversation with two national broadcasters from both the dugout and at his position.

Talk about versatility.

Box score

“On defense it was kind of entertaining,” Anderson said. “I had someone to talk to.”

Anderson was the chosen White Sox player to be wired so that he could have in-game conversations with FOX broadcasters Don Orsillo and A.J. Pierzynski. The player-announcer banter is sometimes tame, sometimes wildly entertaining. Count this one among the latter.

Anderson had a chance to send some good-natured trolling to Bauer, who last year playfully admonished Anderson on Twitter for his bat flips. This time around, Anderson used his first home run of the game to poke a little fun at Bauer and his well-known activeness on social media.

When the broadcasters asked Anderson about his 421-foot homer off Bauer in the fifth inning, which put the Sox ahead 2-0 at the time, he smiled and said, “Fastball right down the middle. Maybe I’ll tell him to put it on the YouTube channel, too.”

In a Zoom interview with reporters after the game, Anderson expounded on the topic.

“I was so happy to finally get him,” he said. “I had to let him know -- I walked it out a little bit. What better spot to hit it -- dead center.”

From the Reds' clubhouse, Bauer offered his retort: “Tell TA he’s soft for not bat-flipping it.”

That was the lighter side of an important, and uncomplicated, win for the Sox. Here are three more things that made this game one to watch.

Sox dig the long ball

Solo homers are typically harmless for an opposing pitcher -- unless they arrive in bulk. The White Sox didn’t produce an abundance of baserunners in this game, and it didn’t matter. Nomar Mazara led off the fifth with a 414-foot shot off Bauer, and from there the Sox piled on.

Three of Chicago's five homers arrived in succession in the eighth, all off Reds reliever Robert Stephenson. Anderson began the parade, followed by Yasmani Grandal, and American League MVP candidate José Abreu.

It was the second time this season the White Sox have gone back-to-back-to-back. On Aug. 16, they hit four straight vs. the Cardinals. This marks the first time in franchise history the Sox have done this twice in a season.

“It was an icebreaker to kind of pull away a little bit more,” Anderson said. “But to go back-to-back-to-back, man, that says a lot about our lineup and what we can do when we're clicking.”

Keuchel: 'Really rusty'

Lefty Dallas Keuchel and manager Rick Renteria said the same thing after the game: Keuchel wasn’t at his sharpest in his first start back after a 10-day stint on the injured list with a back issue, and it was probably to be expected.

“He was doing the best he could, he was trying to work through,” Renteria said. “I think he was probably a little out of sorts. He hadn’t been out there for a bit.”

Keuchel threw 75 pitches and allowed four hits over four scoreless frames, walking three and striking out seven. The Reds had at least two baserunners in each of the first three innings.

“I was telling [Renteria] when I was done, I was very, very fortunate tonight,” Keuchel said. “That's probably one of the luckiest starts that I've ever had. To be in the positions I was early and often, the pitch count racking up, and just the quality of pitches [was] just not there tonight.

“I got out with four [innings], physically feeling good, but just really weak and felt like I hadn't been off the mound in a month and a half.”

Keuchel is aiming for six innings in his start on Thursday in Cleveland, his final start before the postseason begins. He is lined up to start Game 2 of the Wild Card Series, behind Lucas Giolito.

The standings

The Twins won big over the Cubs, so the Sox weren’t able to create space at the top of the American League Central standings. But their magic number to clinch the division shrunk by one, and is now four.

The White Sox have won seven of their past nine and will aim for their third consecutive series win on Sunday in the finale in Cincinnati.

With eight games remaining on the regular-season schedule, Anderson likes their chances.

“From top to bottom, we’re dangerous,” he said. “Any one of those guys can take it out of the ballpark. And then any one of those guys can put it in the gap, and that’s from top to bottom. When we’re clicking at all angles, we’re tough to beat.”

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.