White Sox

Sox' Luis Robert shows off power missed by team all season

White Sox
Luis Robert

If Thursday's Field of Dreams game didn't make you laser-focused on the first-place Chicago White Sox, it really should have.

A Hollywood finish, walk-off home run in the ninth by Tim Anderson wearing the iconic 1919 jersey surged fans in the air as he rounded the bases in an Iowa field surrounded by corn stalks.

It was baseball in its truest form.

"It turned out to be a game you would think had been scripted on a Hollywood movie lot or something and it was just amazing," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said before Saturday's game against the New York Yankees. "Talking to the guys today they were overwhelmed with the excitement, the energy that was in the park and it felt like just a great atmosphere. So it was a big plus for baseball and it got scary there at the end and we won a great game. What an experience."

And now the Sox are continuing the magical narrative as the team reassembles its key pieces in the lineup adding Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert just in time for playoff baseball.

In his fourth game since returning from the 60-day injured list, Robert hit a solo home run in the second inning in Saturday's 7-5 loss, showing off his specific power that was missed in the lineup all season.

"He's (Robert) just an amazing hitter," La Russa said postgame. "He puts the ball in play. He gets base hits, he gets home runs. He's got a good strike zone. I think we're all really impressed with how Luis Robert came back.

 

"I keep giving credit to the guys down in Charlotte. These guys, they worked hard. Quality work and they're coming up here on time."

Robert came into Saturday's game with a couple of doubles and an RBI, getting a much slower start than Jiménez who's been on an unbelievable hot streak since his late-July return.

Jiménez had two hits and two RBI against the Yankees, but it was Robert's bat that solidified the final touches on a World Series-contending team.

The Sox' offense tied up the ballgame three times, including a thrilling home run by José Abreu in the ninth.

The thrill continued in the 10th inning when Robert drove in Jimenez with an RBI-single.

"Today, I felt pretty good in all my at-bats," Robert said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "My last at-bat I was confident and I was able to put the barrel on the ball."

Shortly after, Tim Anderson had a chance for another storybook ending with the bases loaded and two outs but ended up grounding out to third for a fielder's choice.

Liam Hendriks (7-3) took the loss after allowing an RBI-single to Aaron Judge and a two-run home run to Joey Gallo in the top of the 10th.

Starting pitcher Dylan Cease showed excellent command on the mound with his slider, striking out six in five innings and only giving up four hits.

"Slider tends to be a pitch for me that I can usually go to in a pinch, especially for a strike," Cease said. "There was a lot of them that I didn't get in the zone or where I needed to, but I was able to do well enough to get through five and give us a chance."

In his previous outing — the final game in the Crosstown Series last week — Cease said he "wasn't efficient" and that it wasn't his sharpest game. But Cease's arsenal looked real sharp against a tough Yankees' offense. With two months away until playoff baseball, Cease remains focused on the regular season's premiere games.

"To me it feels like whatever playoff intensity would feel like feels like, these games right now," Cease said. "We're locked in every pitch and I think they (Yankees) are too, so we can definitely feel that."

The White Sox featured five left-handed hitters in the lineup with César Hernández, Yoán Moncada, Brian Goodwin, Jake Lamb and Zack Collins, adding more depth to both sides of the plate. 

Big defensive plays were made by Jiménez and Anderson, who each saved potential doubles. Jiménez made a running catch at the left field wall in the second inning and Anderson followed in the third inning with a backwards, running catch in the grass behind Moncada. Cease was ecstatic and clapped for each play.

While Saturday didn't have a magical ending like the Field of Dreams game, the near 40,000 fans sporting the 1919 jersey giveaways at Guaranteed Rate Field sure looked ready for October baseball.

 

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