The Chicago White Sox did not add a bat at the trade deadline.
But the team’s erratic offense clicked Tuesday, as José Abreu and Gavin Sheets homered while Eloy Jiménez drove in four in a 9-2 victory against the Kansas City Royals.
Jiménez paced the Sox with three of the team’s 14 hits in front of 24,361 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“We are one of the teams that can do that,” Jiménez said of the offensive output. “It’s been up and down, but this isn’t over yet.”
The Sox have reached double digits in hits in each of the first two games of the series. They had 10 hits Monday but scored only 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 going outside of our offensive approach and that’s not a recipe for winning,” he said. “I fear that’s in some ways a byproduct of guys trying to do too much themselves and trying to take it all on the individual. One through nine, we’ve got a talented lineup out there.”
Tuesday, the Sox put the big hit total to use as they moved back over .500 at 52-51.
The production started with a three-run first. Jiménez drove in the first run with a single and scored on a single by Abreu, who later scored on an AJ Pollock single.
“So many good swings,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “(Royals starter Brad) Keller was aggressive. We got a bunch of good swings early. impressive. Nice way to play the game, give (Sox starter Lucas Giolito) something to work with.”
Jiménez’s two-run double in the fourth gave the Sox a 5-2 lead.
“As many times as he’s missing (with injury) and we said, ‘Win with what you’ve got’ — he’s a difference maker,” La Russa said. “Looked good in that third spot (in the lineup).”
He’s hitting .448 (13-for-29) with two doubles, three homers and seven RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.
“That confidence comes with work,” Jiménez said. “I’ve been working really hard. Now you can see the results.”
He collected his fourth RBI on a sacrifice fly to left in the sixth. Tim Anderson was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play. Abreu followed with a two-run homer off the left-field foul pole.
Sheets’ ninth homer of the season — all at home — came an inning later.
“I have to give the credit to our offense,” Giolito said. “Just came out focused, prepared. Keller had some good stuff working, but we were putting together great at-bats all night long. Hitting mistakes really well. Made our job as a pitching staff a lot easier.”
Giolito (7-6) allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“One bad inning,” he said of the two-run third. ”You walk two guys to lead off an inning, you are asking for bad things to happen. So sure enough it ended up being a 40-plus-pitch inning, which is never fun. I grinded through and finished strong.”
Giolito wanted to pitch the sixth, but the Sox elected to have Jake Diekman make his debut. The left-hander struck out two in a perfect inning, one day after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox.
“I was fighting to get the sixth inning,” Giolito said. “Then after the sixth inning, I went to Tony and was like, ‘All right, cool. You made the right call there.’”
Diekman was the lone addition the Sox made this week before the deadline as they try to catch the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. The Sox trail the Twins by two games and the second-place Cleveland Guardians by one.
Before the game, Hahn expressed disappointment in not being able to finalize additional trades.
“I know that the front office, they tried to put some stuff together,” Giolito said. “We got a good move in getting Diekman, but I know that the fans and the front office organization is not pleased with how things went down.
“But at the end of the day, it’s on us to come together and have a strong push here to the end.”