White Sox

White Sox offense pours it on in win over Indians

White Sox offense pours it on in win over Indians

CLEVELAND — The White Sox offense started a two-out hit parade early on Thursday night and didn't slow down.

Tim Anderson and Matt Davidson powered a five-run first inning with home runs and the White Sox added on late in a 10-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians in front of 15,060 at Progressive Field. Davidson and Avisail Garcia each drove in three runs for the White Sox, who produced nine two-out runs to improve to 4-4 and claim their first series victory of the season.

"When you get that hit with two outs it keeps it going and puts the pressure on the bullpen and pitchers extending their pitch counts and stuff," Davidson said. "I can't remember, there's a stat that somebody brought up about after a certain amount of pitches in an inning, the OPS skyrockets, like after 14 or 15. It was a pretty interesting stat, so extending those innings is huge for us."

The White Sox offense emerged for the first time since Saturday and they did so early.

Anderson ripped Josh Tomlin's first pitch out to left for a solo shot -- the team’s only run with less than two outs — and the White Sox continued to add on.

Garcia singled with two outs and a man on to extend the first inning for Davidson, who blasted a Tomlin pitch 401 feet the opposite way for a 4-0 lead. Davidson has driven in eight runs in 19 plate appearances.

Yolmer Sanchez then doubled and scored on an RBI single by Omar Narvaez to put the White Sox ahead by five.

The White Sox scored twice more in the second inning on a two-run single by Garcia that knocked Tomlin out of the game and made it a 7-1 contest. The two-out trend in the eighth inning when Jose Abreu, Cody Asche and Garcia all singled in runs.

It was a much-needed outburst from an offense that has struggled to score in all but two previous contests. While the team is averaging 4.4 runs per game through their first eight contests, 27 of the 35 have come in three games. The team has scored two or fewer runs four times already and produced three in their other contest.

"It's big," said Garcia, who is hitting .452 with eight RBIs. "They have a really good team. It's a strong team with strong pitching and hitting. It's good when you win a game like that. You just have to keep working and playing the game the right way."

Starter Miguel Gonzalez couldn't take advantage of the outburst, but the big cushion helped the White Sox manage a potentially precarious situation. Gonzalez ran a high pitch count early with four walks and five strikeouts in the first four frames and a two-run Cleveland rally chased him in the fifth. He allowed three earned runs, eight hits, four walks and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings.

The White Sox preferred to stay away from Zach Putnam, Nate Jones and David Robertson, all of whom had heavy use the previous few days.

Anthony Swarzak gave the White Sox a big lift with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Dan Jennings went another 1 2/3 innings himself and Tommy Kahnle pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the victory.

"Everybody that came in and gave the innings they did and gave us the outs, they did a spectacular job," Renteria said. "All of them kind of rose to the occasion and stifled anything that the Indians were trying to do.

"The guys just came in and played. We had some good at-bats, we had some breaks, we had some things go our way and fortunately for us we walked away with this series and we're happy about that."

White Sox Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings: Harper, Machado and emotional Harold Baines interview

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings: Harper, Machado and emotional Harold Baines interview

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber come to you from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

With all the recent talk about Bryce Harper, could Manny Machado be the big free agent the White Sox sign this winter? (4:34) Ken Williams talks about moving from sell mode to buy mode (7:49). Chuck interviews new Hall of Famer Harold Baines who sheds tears speaking about his dad (11:51) and ESPN's Tim Kurkjian comes on the podcast to discuss the White Sox chances of signing Harper and the decision he and the Today's Game Committee made to elect Baines into the Hall of Fame (18:05).

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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The Bryce Harper derby might already be down to three teams — and the White Sox are one of them

The Bryce Harper derby might already be down to three teams — and the White Sox are one of them

LAS VEGAS — How about this for the first day of the Winter Meetings?

According to a tweet from NBC LA's Michael Duarte, the Bryce Harper sweepstakes might already be down to just three teams. And the White Sox are one of them.

The White Sox, Phillies and Dodgers have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Harper for a while now. The White Sox have the financial flexibility and seeming willingness to offer what's expected to be the biggest contract in baseball history to a guy who would mesh perfectly with their rebuilding plans. The Phillies have vowed to "spend stupid" and have been pegged as perhaps the favorite for more than a month. And the Dodgers are a high-spending club who have reportedly already pitched Harper on starring in Southern California. The White Sox, for what it's worth, have also reportedly made their pitch, one featuring Hall of Famer Jim Thome.

Harper — who once saw enough pitches to walk 13 times during a four-game weekend set with the Cubs — has reportedly been hearing quite a lot of pitches this week with all 30 teams in his hometown of Las Vegas.

But the perhaps most interesting tidbit of Duarte's tweet is that the Dodgers might find themselves out of the running if they're not able to move other pieces around or not willing to meet the requests of Harper's agent, Scott Boras.

Also on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings, the New York Yankees pretty much bowed out of the Harper derby, and the St. Louis Cardinals did the same thing.

So where does this leave the White Sox? Well, it leaves them, apparently, as one of the teams with the best chances to land the biggest fish in this winter's free-agent pond.

If there truly are three finalists, a number that could of course still grow and shrink as the week (and offseason) goes on, and the Dodgers aren't looking like a very solid one, then the White Sox would figure to be in an excellent position. The Yankees bowing out took a team coming off a 100-win season with a championship-caliber roster off the board. The Dodgers boast similar recent success as the back-to-back NL champs, but if they're potentially not long for this sweepstakes, either, then the rebuilding White Sox don't have to pitch against that kind of immediate success. The Phillies made great strides in their rebuilding process last season, but there wouldn't be as much separation between the White Sox and the Phillies, when it comes to selling the ability to win championships, as there would be between the White Sox and the Dodgers or Yankees.

Harper would be a no-brainer fit with the White Sox future-focused long-term plan. Adding him to the collection of highly touted prospects could make the White Sox a contender for years to come, even if it doesn't even make them a playoff team right away in 2019. It's the kind of big-time opportunity the White Sox have been talking about taking advantage of to align with their ongoing development of a perennial contender.

"It’s very important for us to remain very diligent where we are in this," Hahn said Monday night. "We’re entering Year 3 of a rebuild, and although I think there’s some potential skepticism that it might be a year too soon, perhaps be pushing it, we’re very mindful of that. And we also want to balance the fact there is some unique opportunities out there in the market, and we wouldn’t be doing our job — even if it is perhaps a year too early — not doing our job if we didn’t fully vet those opportunities.

"It doesn’t mean we’re going to just look for any way to make some sort of splash. It has to fit with the long-term vision of what we’re trying to accomplish. Traditionally, the third year of a rebuild isn’t always the time where you push those chips in, so to speak, but when unique opportunities present themselves you have to respond."

The White Sox seem to be responding. Will Harper respond favorably to their pursuit?

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