CHICAGO (AP)Eloy Jimenez drove in five runs with two homers and a double, and the Chicago White Sox beat the crosstown Cubs 9-3 on Sunday night for their first sweep of a three-game series at Wrigley Field since May 2012.
Jimenez and Andrew Vaughn hit two-run shots after Tim Anderson led off the game with a solo drive as the White Sox hit Zach Davies hard in a five-run first inning. The outburst put the AL Central leaders ahead early on a warm night with the wind blowing out at the iconic ballpark.
Anderson also finished with three hits as the White Sox won their fourth straight and moved 101/2 games ahead of second-place Cleveland. The Cubs have dropped four straight and 10 of 12.
Jimenez’s homers were his second and third in nine games since returning from a torn pectoral tendon that kept him out since spring training.
”I feel like I can get it back to normal,” Jimenez said. ”Today was the day that I felt really fine at the plate and now I’ve just got to keep working.”
Manager Tony La Russa is just starting to get an impression of the upbeat 6-foot-4, 240-pound left fielder.
”I know he’s a monster,” La Russa said. ”I hear he’s really good and I’m beginning to see it.
”He’s got that left-field to right-field stroke, which makes it difficult to defend and a very lively bat, so it’s great to have him back.”
Dylan Cease (9-6) labored, but got through five innings and won for the first time in three starts against his former team. The right-hander allowed three runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out 10, although he admitted he wasn’t his sharpest.
The scoring outburst was boost – and a statement as the White Sox start to get injured stars back. Center fielder Luis Robert is set to rejoin the team on Monday.
”Having that many runs early is a huge relief as a starting pitcher,” Cease said.
Reynaldo Lopez, Ryan Tepera and Jose Ruiz followed with four scoreless, one-hit innings. Ruiz struck out the side in the ninth.
Jimenez continued to pound the pitching of the Cubs, who traded him, Cease and two prospects to the White Sox for Jose Quintana in July 2017. In 10 games versus the North Siders, he’s batting .389 with five homers, five doubles and 10 RBIs.
Jimenez hasn’t forgotten his first club.
”I can say that is in the past, but I actually had it in my mind,” he said.
Frank Schwindel had two RBIs and Rafael Ortega had two hits for the Cubs.
Davies (6-9) gave up seven runs on seven hits and lasted just two innings in his third straight loss. The righty has allowed 18 runs in his last 12 innings.
”It’s definitely a low point in not only the season but my career,” Davies said. ”It’s one of those things that I’m working as hard as I possibly can in between starts to figure that out because two innings in my mind, and a lot of other guys’ minds, is unacceptable.”
Anderson lined Davies’ first pitch into the right-center bleachers. Jimenez launched the first pitch he saw over the wall in center with Adam Engel on first. After Yoan Moncada walked, Vaughn lined his 13th homer to left-center.
Jimenez’s double down the left field line in the second drove in two and increased the lead to 7-0.
Schwindel’s pinch-hit single in the bottom half cut it to 7-2. Greg Deichmann trimmed it to 7-3 with a bloop in the third.
Jimenez added a solo shot to right in the fifth to make it 8-3. Vaughn singled in the final run in the seventh.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GET WELL SOON
Manager David Ross said he texted former Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo on Sunday to wish the new Yankees slugger a happy 32nd birthday and ”hoped he’s feeling OK” after Rizzo tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
Rizzo, off to a quick start with New York since being acquired from the Cubs on July 29, was the fourth Yankees player within the past week to be sidelined by the coronavirus. He said in June he was not vaccinated.
HE FOUND IT
Anderson originally was scheduled for a day of rest and wasn’t in the first starting lineup. La Russa put the shortstop back in at the leadoff spot after he came in for extra batting practice and told him he ”found something.”
”Me and Frank (hitting coach Menechino) played around today and I found what I was looking for,” said Anderson, the 2019 AL batting champ who entered Sunday batting .292.
White Sox: La Russa said CF Luis Robert (right hip flexor tear) will rejoin the team on Monday in Minnesota after wrapping up a minor league rehab stint that concluded with Triple-A Charlotte. Robert, a Gold Glove winner as a rookie in 2020, was hurt running to first on May 2. La Russa said he wanted to meet with Robert before easing him back into the lineup.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (8-8, 3.98) is slated to start Monday afternoon at Minnesota. The Twins hadn’t named a starter.
Cubs: Milwaukee RHP Freddy Peralta (8-3, 2.21) will start the opener of a four-game series in Chicago on Monday. RHP Alex Mills (5-4, 4.41) is the likely starter for the Cubs.
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