Chicago White Sox didn’t add a bat at the trade deadline.
But the team’s erratic offense clicked Tuesday, when José Abreu and Gavin Sheets homered while Eloy Jiménez drove in four in a 9-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Jimenez paced the Sox with three of the team’s 14 hits in front of 24,361 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“We’re one of the teams that can do that,” Jimenez said of offensive production. “There have been ups and downs, but this is not over yet.”
The Sox have reached double digits in hits in each of the first two games of the series. They had 10 hits on Monday but scored just once in a 2-1 loss..
Before Tuesday’s game, general manager Rick Hahn addressed some of the offensive issues.
“You see guys with at-bats where we’re pressing, we’re expanding the zone, we’re chasing, we’re getting out of our offensive focus and that’s not a recipe for winning,” he said. “I’m afraid in a way it’s a by-product of guys trying to do too much for themselves and trying to take it all on individually. From one to nine, we have a talented lineup.”
On Tuesday, the Red Sox used the big-hit total when they fell back above .500 at 52-51.
Production began with a first of three runs. Jiménez singled in the first run and scored on a single by Abreu, who then scored on a single by AJ Pollock.
“So many good swings,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “(Royals starter Brad) Keller was aggressive. We had a lot of good swings early. Awesome. Good way to play the game, give (Sox starter Lucas Giolito) something to work with.”
Jimenez’s two-run double in the fourth gave the Sox a 5-2 lead.
“Every time he’s missing (due to injury) and we said, ‘Win with what you’ve got,’ he makes the difference,” La Russa said. “He looked good in that third place (in the lineup).”
He is hitting .448 (13-for-29) with two doubles, three home runs and seven RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.
“That confidence comes with the job,” Jimenez said. “I have been working very hard. Now you can see the results.”
He got his fourth RBI on a sacrifice fly to left field in the sixth. Tim Anderson was ejected trying to advance to third on the play. Abreu followed with a two-run homer off the left-field foul pole.
Sheets’ ninth home run of the season, all at home, came an inning later.
“I have to give credit to our offense,” Giolito said. “I just came out focused, prepared. Keller had some good stuff working, but we were running big at-bats all night. Hitting bugs very well. He made our job as a pitching staff so much easier.”
Giolito (7-6) allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“A bad start,” he said of the third of two runs. “You walk two guys to open an inning, you’re asking for bad things to happen. So, effectively, it ended up being a 40+ pitch inning, which is never fun. I worked hard and finished strong.”
Giolito wanted to pitch the sixth, but the Sox chose to have Jake Diekman make his debut. The left-hander struck out two in a perfect inning, a day after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox.
“I was struggling to get the sixth inning,” Giolito said. “Then after the sixth inning, I went to Tony and said, ‘He’s fine, great. You made the right call there.’”
Diekman was the only addition the Red Sox made this week before the deadline in their bid to trap the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. The Red Sox are two games behind the Twins and one game behind the second-place Cleveland Guardians.
Before the game, Hahn expressed disappointment that he was unable to finish additional trades.
“I know the front office tried to put some things together,” Giolito said. “We had a good move getting Diekman, but I know the fans and the front office organization are not happy with how things have turned out.
“But at the end of the day, it’s up to us to come together and have strong momentum here until the end.”