They’re not thought to be a high-powered-offense like the Baltimore Orioles or the Toronto Blue Jays.
But the White Sox offense still possesses a little pop.
The offense continued its most potent stretch of 2016 on Monday afternoon with two more round-trippers and James Shields took advantage as the White Sox downed the New York Yankees 8-2 in front of 30,955 at U.S. Cellular Field. Tim Anderson and Dioner Navarro each homered for the White Sox, who have hit 23 of their 85 home runs in the last 13 games. The White Sox have won 10 of 14 overall and improved to 43-40.
“It's somewhat what you expect,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We're swinging it better, it's warmer, a lot of factors go into it. You like the way the guys have battled through it.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
The White Sox hoped to add the long ball to their repertoire when they acquired Todd Frazier from the Cincinnati Reds in a three-team deal in December.
Last season, the White Sox produced a paltry 136 home runs, their lowest total in a full season since they hit 110 in 1992. But even with Frazier on pace for more than 40 round-trippers, the White Sox weren’t dialing long distance much until two weeks ago. Through 70 games, the team was on pace for 143 homers, which would rank 27th in the 49 White Sox seasons since the mound was lowered.
But with warmer weather and Tim Anderson providing a spark the White Sox offense has begun to experience a growth spurt.
Anderson continued his torrid start Monday and helped the White Sox finally break through against Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia. After Jason Coats singled to start the third inning, Anderson drilled a first-pitch sinker from Sabathia 426 feet out to center field to tie the score at 2.
Anderson’s two-run shot snapped a franchise-record tying streak of 15 consecutive solo home runs hit by the White Sox, a stretch that dated back to June 23. It also gave the rookie 12 multi-hit contests in his first 23 games as he also singled in the first inning.
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The White Sox didn’t pull ahead until the fifth though as they left the bases loaded in the third and stranded a man at third in the fourth.
But Lawrie’s sac fly to center in the fifth scored Frazier to make it a one-run game. Navarro, who had five RBIs in the Houston series, then continued his hot streak with a two-run homer off Sabathia to make it a 5-2 game.
The homer-spurt now has the White Sox on pace for 166. They’ve also scored 68 runs in the 13-game stretch. But Navarro said home runs are only part of the equation for the club’s recent offensive success.
“The most important thing, everybody knows their role,” Navarro said. “Everybody’s doing the little things. Anderson getting on, (Adam) Eaton doing his thing, and everybody one through nine.”
The White Sox continued to add on without any homers as Lawrie singled in Frazier in the seventh to increase the lead to four. Jose Abreu and Frazier each singled in runs in the eighth to make it 8-2. Frazier reached base five times, including two doubles and two walks.
The way the White Sox have been swinging had Shields confident his team would rally even when he put them in a 2-0 hole. Chase Headley’s second-inning homer gave the Yankees an early advantage.
But Shields pitched out of tight spots in the fourth and sixth innings to give the White Sox a third consecutive strong start. The right-hander, who had a 21.81 ERA in his first three White Sox starts, allowed two earned and five hits with two walks in six innings. He has a 3.06 ERA in 17 2/3 innings in his last three starts.
“This team is a good hitting team,” Shields said. “I knew we were going to get a good shot to come back.
“Obviously the home runs are good, but for me it’s playing the game the right way. We’re getting guys on, we’re moving guys over and we’re getting guys in and that’s the name of the game. Home runs are going to come and it's summer time now so the ball flies a little more here in Chicago. But for me, what I’m looking at is guys moving guys over and getting guys in and we’re executing that really well.”