ARLINGTON, Texas — AJ Pollock took over the leadoff role for the Chicago White Sox on Sunday with Tim Anderson suspended.
Pollock sparked the offense with three hits, a run and an RBI in an 8-2 victory against the Texas Rangers in front of 29,579 at Globe Life Field.
“Greatest hits,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “That’s what you need sometimes. Especially in the first three games (of the series), we couldn’t do anything. (In) Tim’s place, (Pollock) was the initiator. The first two hits were decisive.”
Andrew Vaughn hit a two-run homer and Luis Robert drove in two runs with a double as the Sox salvaged a four-game series split.
“The offense put the blame on them,” Pollock said. “It’s what we needed. (Saturday) I thought (Rangers starter Dane) Dunning pitched really well, and it looked like we were flat. We came ready to play, we prepared. It just wasn’t working.
“It was good to go out (Sunday) and get some races early and rack them up. I think we played a good game.”
After three lackluster nights in which they scored a combined four runsthe Sox offense did a little of everything on Sunday.
There was a two-out touchdown when Pollock drove in Josh Harrison with a single in the second for the first run of the game.
The Sox showed power when Vaughn hit his two-run homer in the third to make it 3-0.
They made the most of a mistake one inning later. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager grounded out to Leury Garcia to start the fourth. Garcia scored on a two-run double by Robert, and Robert scored on a single by Eloy Jimenez.
There was also production with the bases loaded through a walk by Yoán Moncada that brought a run to the plate in the sixth.
“Sometimes I feel like we’ve had really good approaches and maybe it doesn’t feel like it because the results aren’t there,” Pollock said. “Other times the approach is the same and the bullfights arrive. 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.”
The Sox had 15 hits in the first of two games without Anderson. The All-Star shortstop was suspended three games by Major League Baseball and fined an undisclosed amount for making contact with home plate umpire Nick Mahrley on July 29 against the Oakland Athletics. He appealed and the suspension was reduced to two.
Garcia filled in at shortstop and had three hits and scored twice.
“I know the game is just to get on base,” Garcia said. “I have great hitters behind me and that’s what I try to do, get on base.”
He was one of four Sox players with three hits, along with Pollock, Vaughn and José Abreu.
“Everyone contributed,” La Russa said. “(Anderson is) so special that you can’t replace him. But Leury is also a player. And they know that sometimes we play short and still find a way to win.”
Garcia also made a good play with the bases loaded in the third, fielding a high chopper and making a strong throw to first for the final out.
Earlier in the inning, Pollock made a nice sliding catch in right field for the second out. Seager, who was on third, didn’t bunt and was stranded.
“Trying to be aggressive,” Pollock said. “I had a good jump on it. (Adolis García) hit very hard and I was able to make the play”.
Sox starter Lucas Giolito benefited from the strong defense. He allowed one run on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“The performance was good,” Giolito said of his 103-pitch outing. “Five and dive again, similar to my last start. Frustrating. A long post (the third one) is wearing me out in terms of digging deeper. But I’m happy with my ability to fight and keep the damage really low in that entry. Only the one who runs. I feel like I really found a good rhythm in the fourth and fifth innings.
“But the story is the offense coming out with a vengeance. The series didn’t turn out the way we wanted at first. We knew that (Sunday) was an important day and they went out in full force. Lots of extra-base hits and lots of run support. So it’s always a good thing.”
The Red Sox won a game against the Minnesota Twins, who lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in 10 innings. The Red Sox are two games behind the Twins and one game behind the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central.
“We’ve had really short bursts and we have to focus on what we’re doing and not what anybody else outside of this locker room is doing,” Pollock said. “That is our approach and we will see what happens. If we play a hot streak and a long streak of good baseball, we’ll be fine.”