Tim Anderson apparently brought some extra lumber up with him from Charlotte.
The team’s top prospect finished his major-league debut Friday night with two hits and the White Sox blasted a season-high four home runs in a 7-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals in front of 23,290 at U.S. Cellular Field. Anderson doubled in his first career at-bat and scored a run and Alex Avila blasted two homers in support of Chris Sale, who improved to 10-2. Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie also homered for the White Sox, who improved to 31-30.
“It was an awesome feeling when I was on deck going up for my first at-bat,” said Anderson, who received a standing ovation after his first hit. “I just had to think, ‘Is this really happening?’ It was a great feeling, and I had fun.
“Awesome timing. I’m enjoying the moment.”
Sale thinks this could be the first of many instances for the heralded shortstop, who was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte earlier in the day. The White Sox designated veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins for assignment to make room for Anderson, a first-round draft pick in 2013.
Anderson immediately sparked a stagnant White Sox offense from the ninth spot in the order.
Batting with one out in the third, Anderson ripped a 1-2 fastball from Ian Kennedy down the left-field line for a double in his first major league at-bat. Later in the inning, Jose Abreu ripped a two-out RBI single to left to tie the score at 1. Cabrera then caught hold of a knuckle curve from Ian Kennedy and blasted it out for a two-run homer to make it 3-1.
Anderson also singled with two outs in the sixth and finished 2-for-3.
“Being able to come in here and be able to take a deep breath and do what he did -- I mean, he had great at-bats all night,” Sale said. “It looks like he’s been here forever. Hats off to him.
“We’re happy to have him.”
In the fourth, Brett Lawrie hit his first homer since May 23 to put the White Sox up 4-2. Lawrie’s solo shot was his first in 64 plate appearances. Avila followed him with his first homer of the season to put the White Sox up three.
Two innings later, Avila continued to pour it on when he lined a 350-foot homer to right to put the White Sox ahead 7-3. Avila’s three RBIs surpassed his previous season total (two).
The offense gave Sale just enough to work with on a night in which he needed it.
“Any time he doesn't have quite his stuff, you want to be able to score for him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They did that tonight.”
Sale allowed three solo homers, including two to Eric Hosmer. He also yielded three straight hits to start the seventh inning and 11 overall in six-plus innings. But Sale never relinquished the lead once the White Sox went ahead. After three scoreless from four relievers, Sale had his first win since May 19.
That only made a special night for Anderson even better.
“It was a good one,” Ventura said. “He's just at that point where it's time to see what he can do. Again, he's not coming up here timid, he's ready to play. It's a nice way to start it off, spark a little rally for us. I think later on he probably won't remember a whole lot of it. But it was just nice. He looked comfortable out there.”