Mike Olt made Chicago history on Wednesday night when he became the first player to hit home runs for both the White Sox and Cubs in the same season.
Olt’s 428-foot blast was one of three homers hit by the White Sox, who bounced back from Tuesday’s blowout with a 9-4 victory over the Oakland A’s at U.S. Cellular Field. Carlos Sanchez and Jose Abreu also homered in support of Erik Johnson, who went six strong innings. Since he joined the White Sox earlier this month, Olt is hitting .257/.316/.343 with a homer and two RBIs in 38 plate appearances.
“It’s very nice,” Olt said. “Definitely I just want to get out there and just get relaxed and have fun. It took me a couple of games to get back in the swing of things. Definitely looking forward to finishing strong.”
Johnson and the White Sox already held a 3-1 lead when Rob Brantly singled to start the fourth inning ahead of Olt.
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Olt, who also homered for the Cubs on April 11, crushed a 1-0 slider from Oakland starter Cody Martin out to deep center for a two-run homer. None of the other 14 players to play for both teams had ever homered in the sameseason, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The White Sox have given Olt an audition as they have sure answers on the left side of the infield in 2016.
“You see the power that's there definitely, and you know that's there,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We’re just getting a look at him but knowing his history and power and things like that, you want to see him continue. I know he had some nice at bats when we got home from Kansas City, of being able to put the bat on it. Got some some big RBIs. The homer today, I think you're seeing something there.”
Tyler Saladino, who started at shortstop and has endured a similar audition, chased Martin with a double. Reliever Pat Venditte walked the next three batters, including Abreu with the bases loaded to force in a run. Melky Cabrera’s two-run double made it an 8-1 game as the White Sox sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth.
Though Johnson pitched deep into a number of counts, he took advantage of the big cushion. Johnson still walked three batters but kept Oakland at bay throughout. He allowed a run in the second inning as the A’s closed within a run but shut them down until the sixth inning when Billy Butler hit a two-run homer.
Johnson allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
“I was aggressive in the zone with multiple pitches and especially with a lead like that you just have to fill it up,” Johnson said.
Rookie Frankie Montas struck out two in scoreless innings.
Olt was placed on waivers when the Cubs acquired Austin Jackson from the Seattle Mariners in late August. He joined the White Sox in Kansas City earlier this month and has appeared in 10 games.
Knowing the opportunity he has here is more than enough to drive Olt.
“It’s going to be some motivation for the offseason and I’m going to try to get myself in a great position to come into spring and hopefully win a job,” Olt said.