Tim Anderson’s glove and speed aren’t the only impressive parts of his game.
The young shortstop had three hits on Monday night and drove in the go-ahead run as the White Sox pounded the Cleveland Indians 11-4 in front of 12,588 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Jose Abreu had two RBIs and Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier homered as the White Sox became only the 20th team in baseball history to score a run in each inning it batted. Miguel Gonzalez notched the 500th strikeout of his career pitched 6 2/3 strong innings to improve to 4-6.
“Give credit to T.A. — he had a heck of a game,” Eaton said. “(Three hits) there early and taking the extra base and driving some guys in. Hats off to him — he really got us going on all facets and Avisail as well — hitting the home run he had there and then putting the bat on the ball there late.”
It’s not as if Anderson’s bat hasn’t received plenty of attention since he was promoted in June. His aggressive approach constantly has him swinging at pitches and he entered Monday third among American League rookies with 93 hits in 78 games behind Texas’ Nomar Mazara (127 in 130 games) and Kansas City’s Cheslor Cuthbert (116 in 109 games).
Anderson singled in the first inning to move Eaton into scoring position and Eaton eventually scored on Abreu’s RBI groundout to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. He also singled in the third inning, stole second and scored on Abreu’s double to get the White Sox back within 3-2. After Garcia’s solo homer off Carlos Carrasco tied it in the fourth, Anderson singled to left to drive in Omar Narvaez, who had doubled, to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead. It was the 28th multi-hit effort in 79 games for Anderson, who finished 3-for-5 and is hitting .286/.305/.420 in 352 plate appearances.
A career .301 hitter in the minors, Anderson said the transition to major league pitching has been on par with his expectations. While he has struggled at times, Anderson has displayed the ability to quickly bounce back.
“It’s kind of been the same,” Anderson said. “They’ve been around the strike zone a lot. It’s kind of what I expected. Basically it all boils down to getting a good pitch to hit.
“Especially when (Eaton and I) are both swinging it well, we’re pretty much dangerous. Just to get on, me and him, that puts speed on and anything up the middle or anywhere, basically, you can score from there. It helps a lot.”
The White Sox have improved slightly with Anderson in the lineup; they’ve averaged 4.35 runs per game with him after averaging 4.0 before his promotion from Triple-A Charlotte. That included Monday’s outpouring against seven Cleveland pitchers.
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Eaton’s 13th homer made it a 7-3 game in the sixth with a solo homer to right. Tyler Saladino doubled in a run in the seventh and Eaton singled him in before Frazier blasted a two-run homer in the eighth, his 36th. Garcia started the seventh-inning rally with the third of his career-high four hits.
It’s the second time in White Sox history the club has scored a run in every inning. The other time was May 11, 1949 at home against Boston.
“(Eaton and Anderson) get dangerous,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Even with TA, the speed that gets up there on base. The way Jose has been swinging of late, you get some guys on and it turns into a nice inning for us.”
The offense made an easy winner of Gonzalez, who ran into a bit of bad luck in the second inning and allowed three runs. Jose Ramirez’s fly ball to center should have been caught but a charging Eaton scared Anderson and it dropped in for a double. Lonnie Chisenhall then beat the shift as his routine fly ball to left dropped in for an RBI single and Rajai Davis bounced one over the head of a drawn-in Frazier for an RBI double to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead.
Gonzalez was otherwise just as sharp as he has been since July 1. He entered the game with a 2.38 ERA in his last nine starts. Minus his Aug. 11 outing, when Gonzalez left injured after one-plus inning, he has averaged more than six innings per start over the past 2 1/2 months.
Gonzalez allowed three earned runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.
“It was pretty impressive to watch and be out there and be supportive for my team,” Gonzalez said of the offense. “They really picked me up back there.”