BOSTON — Tim Anderson has all the makings of being the White Sox shortstop of the future, having hit his way to top prospect status while ascending through the minor leagues.
Only a few days after being promoted to the majors, Anderson was moved to the team’s leadoff spot in an attempt by manager Robin Ventura to spark a scuffling lineup.
On a warm night in Boston, Anderson provided that spark and checked off another first in the process.
The 22-year-old shortstop’s leadoff home run, the first of his career, helped propel the White Sox to a 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox Tuesday evening at Fenway Park. He blasted the first pitch of the game — a middle in, elevated 91 mile per hour fastball from Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz — over the Green Monster and out of the historic stadium toward Landsdowne Street.
“You get 1-0 after one pitch and that’s going to give you a jolt of energy,” starter Chris Sale said.
The White Sox tacked on another run in the first inning as boos were cackled toward Buccholz from a crowd that had barely settled in its seats. That was more than enough for Sale, who allowed one run over seven innings with nine strikeouts.
Through his first 11 games, Anderson is hitting .292 with a .771 OPS. His aggressiveness has, so far, played well at the major league level — six of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases. He doesn’t have a walk and has 14 strikeouts, and eventually, opposing pitchers will try to turn that aggressiveness against him.
But given Buchholz’ wildness (he entered Tuesday with a career-worst 10.5 percent walk rate), Anderson figured he would get something to hit early in the count to begin the game.
“I felt like he was going to be aggressive, and I’m aggressive too,” Anderson said. “It was just a great moment, good location for me to hit it and I didn’t miss it.”
The White Sox are still a game under .500 and need a win Wednesday to record three consecutive victories for the first time since early May. But after losing 26 of their previous 36 games, the White Sox have pulled out two wins against a legitimate playoff contender in Boston.
On Monday night, Zach Duke and Jose Abreu were the catalysts for a dramatic extra-inning win. Tuesday’s came a little easier thanks to the way Anderson kicked things off.
The irony of Anderson’s home run was that, because it literally left the stadium, there was some question about him getting the ball back to keep. And a few players used the opportunity to rib Anderson about maybe hitting the ball too hard — though he did wind up having the ball returned to him.
“Yeah, that’s what they said,” Anderson smiled, “‘you’re not going to get that one back, since you hit it too far.’”