With patient approach, White Sox finally pounce

August 8th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Tony La Russa finished his pregame managerial interview session Sunday morning by strongly suggesting the White Sox “get even” to close out this four-game set against the Rangers before leaving Globe Life Field.

Not only did the White Sox follow their manager’s instructions with an 8-2 victory, but they also got closer in the American League Central. The Guardians won again, but the Twins lost in 10 innings to the Blue Jays on a controversial replay overturn of the home plate collision rule, meaning the White Sox (55-53) stay one behind the Guardians and move to just two back of the Twins.

There was no talk about Minnesota's strange loss in the visitors' clubhouse after the White Sox improved to 7-5 in this stretch of 19 straight against teams with a record under .500. The attention was more on their 15-hit attack, with José Abreu, AJ Pollock, Andrew Vaughn and Leury Garcia finishing with three hits apiece, marking the second game this season where Chicago has had four players with at least three hits (four on June 15 at Detroit).

“When you see the team like today, when we put everything together -- hitting, pitching, defense -- we can do it,” Garcia said. “If we stay healthy, a lot of good things are going down."

“Sometimes, I feel like we’ve had really good approaches and maybe it doesn’t seem like that because the results aren’t there,” Pollock said. “Other times, the approach is the same and the runs come. It’s just baseball, and it doesn’t feel good when you don’t score runs. It feels great when you score runs and everyone is happy.”

With Tim Anderson serving his reduced two-game suspension beginning Sunday, Pollock served as the offense’s igniter from the leadoff spot. He singled home the team’s first run in the second, setting up an offensive outburst that included Vaughn’s two-run home run off Spencer Howard in the third.

La Russa has preached not chasing at the plate many times this season. He smiled Sunday evening and pointed out this latest win is what the offense can look like with that patient approach.

“The story today is the offense coming out with a vengeance,” White Sox starter Lucas Giolito said. “The series didn't go the way we wanted it to early. We knew that today was an important day, and they came out swinging. A lot of extra-base hits and a lot of run support. So it's always a good thing."

Five White Sox extra-base hits came in support of Giolito (8-6), who wasn’t satisfied with a third straight “five and dive” start. But the right-hander limited the Rangers (48-60) to one run on six hits with five strikeouts, working through a 36-pitch third inning.

“Lucas was good, had the changeup working,” White Sox catcher Seby Zavala said. “He commanded the changeup well, got the fastball in on certain guys, so he had everything working today.”

“Ideally, I'd like to go out and have a nice quick inning and get them back in there to do their thing,” Giolito said. “Just limiting damage as much as possible, just giving us the best chance to continue to hold our lead. I'd like to go deeper, but I've got to do a better job limiting the walks and limiting the deep at-bats. It seems to all be happening in one inning. It's just focusing up a little bit better there."

After a Monday off-day, the White Sox play four in Kansas City, followed by three at home against Detroit. Business picks up after that, with Houston in town for four, three in Cleveland, one more in Kansas City and three in Baltimore.

It’s been an absolute roller coaster of a season for ardent Chicago fans, who were ready to fire everyone after an 8-0 loss Saturday left the team with four runs scored in the series, but have renewed hope Sunday. The White Sox, meanwhile, can’t worry about anyone but themselves.

“Of course you look at what [the Twins and Guardians] are doing. But it doesn’t matter," Pollock said. "They lose, and we've got to win. If we win, usually that stuff takes care of itself. It’s really just about us. I don’t think we played really good baseball.

“We’ve had really short bursts and we have to focus on what we are doing and not what anyone else outside this locker room is doing. That’s our focus, and we will see what happens.”