White Sox keep on beating the teams they should beat
Brian Goodwin had four hits, including a home run, and Lucas Giolito struck out nine as the Sox improved to 6-0 against the Orioles with an 8-3 victory Saturday.
BALTIMORE — There’s no shame in beating up on the bottom-feeders.
That’s what good teams are supposed to do. That’s what the White Sox are doing.
Their 8-3 victory Saturday against the Orioles put them in position for a weekend sweep of the American League’s worst team. A victory Sunday would give the AL Central-leading Sox a 6-3 road trip against the Tigers, Twins and Orioles, all losing teams. It also would give them a 54-35 record at the All-Star break.
‘‘We play our game no matter who is across the line,’’ said outfielder Brian Goodwin, who had four hits, including his fourth home run. ‘‘We don’t play down to our competition; we play up to our competition. Every game, come to play hard.’’
The Sox are 6-0 against the Orioles and 31-14 against teams below .500. They’re 22-21 against teams at or above .500.
The formula is working. The Sox’ biggest leads at the All-Star break were 10œ games over the Indians in 2000 with a 55-32 record and nine games over the Twins in 2005 with a 57-29 mark. Entering play Sunday, the Sox have a 7œ-game lead over the Indians.
‘‘We have a very nice lead in our division, and we’re playing really, really good, consistent baseball where when one area might falter one day, the other parts pick up the slack,’’ said right-hander Lucas Giolito, who allowed two runs and struck out nine in 5„ innings.
Goodwin, a minor-league free agent picked up off the Pirates’ reject pile after Luis Robert went down with a serious hip injury in May, batted cleanup in manager Tony La Russa’s pieced-together lineup. He drove in three runs.
‘‘I still feel like I have a lot to give,’’ Goodwin, 30, said. ‘‘I have a lot to accomplish, too. I have a chip on my shoulder, something to prove every day.’’
Tim Anderson, celebrating his All-Star Game selection, doubled in a run, and Yoan Moncada doubled home Anderson and Zack Collins in a three-run third.
Leury Garcia, who is 7-for-15 in his last three games, doubled twice and notched his 38th RBI. Jake Burger had two hits and was on base three times, raising his average to .381.
Giolito walked two in the sixth to fall short of his eighth quality start in his last 10 outings. In his first five innings, Giolito threw his fastball, changeup and slider for swings-and-misses and didn’t allow a walk. La Russa called it one of Giolito’s best starts.
‘‘My slider felt really good today,’’ said Giolito, whose best pitches are usually his four-seam fastball and changeup. ‘‘I was executing it well to the glove side.’’
Giolito hasn’t pitched to his standards this season but is inching closer to getting there, he said.
‘‘Just keeping my foot on the gas pedal,’’ he said. ‘‘I came out with a little higher energy today, wanting to work faster and have more rhythm. Now I just have to keep it from pitch 100 to 110.’’
All-Star closer Liam Hendriks cleaned up a messy eighth for Jose Ruiz, finishing the inning with a strikeout with the bases loaded, then struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 23rd save. Hendriks has struck out 60 batters and walked four.
The Sox have one game to go before the break. After their four-day rest, they will be tested by the AL West-leading Astros, who outscored them 27-8 in a four-game sweep last month in Houston. The Sox host the Astros for three games next weekend at Guaranteed Rate Field.
‘‘We’re going to have to beat the good teams,’’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel — a former Astro — said after beating the Orioles on Friday. ‘‘We’re doing our job beating the teams we should beat. We’re very competitive now. We got our butts whupped in Houston, so I’d like to see what we’re made of to open the second half.’’