Like a fresh cup of coffee, Tim Anderson gave the White Sox the jolt they needed.
Swinging at the first pitch in the first inning against Twins right-hander Michael Pineda, Anderson homered to left field to spark a 4-2 victory only 14 hours after the end of a 13-8 win that lasted four hours the night before.
It was the 10th leadoff homer of Anderson’s career and his fifth on the first pitch. Anderson also singled, raising his average to .315 and OPS to .822, second on the team to Yermin Mercedes. He has five home runs.
“Just being ready for that first pitch,” Anderson said. “He left it right over the middle of the plate. I did my homework last night. I was ready for it and I didn’t miss it.”
Anderson owns an eight-game hitting streak, going 13-for-36 (.361) during that stretch. He’s hitting pitches on both sides of the plate and hitting with a plan.
“I just knew he was going to try to groove me a fastball and I just knew I would be ready,” he said. “I just happened to put it in the seats.”
One day after going 4-for-4 with a triple and double and three runs scored, light-hitting Billy Hamilton started again in center field and did what he does best, making a leaping catch at the wall with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning, saving three runs.
In the eighth inning, with two on and one out after closer Liam Hendriks entered, Hamilton sprinted to the left-center field gap to catch a Luis Arraez liner. Hendriks then retired Josh Donaldson to preserve a one-run lead.
“We honor, we celebrate defense,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I don’t know if you see it, if it’s on TV but if a guy makes a good defensive play the whole dugout, players, manager, coaches, we all don’t miss a great, even a good defensive play without congratulating.”
On the other hand
The Sox were charged with three errors, so it wasn’t all good. Zack Collins was charged with the Sox’ fifth catcher’s interference of the season. First baseman Jake Lamb bobbled a double-play grounder and was charged with an error after failing to handle a throw from Anderson. Right-hander Lance Lynn was given an error when Lamb couldn’t dig a low throw out of the dirt.
Lamb, a third baseman by trade, made amends at the plate. Getting his first plate appearance in 11 days, he homered his second time up.
Kopech to make third start
Michael Kopech will make his third start in Game 2 of a split doubleheader Friday, pitching on five days rest after a 24-pitch relief appearance Saturday in Kansas City.
“It’s going to be fun to watch him, always is,” La Russa said.
Kopech, who has averaged 34 pitches in seven relief appearances, made 41 and 87 pitches over three and five innings in starts against the Red Sox and Rangers, respectively.
“He’s conditioned to get us into the second part of the game and we’ll see how it all comes out for him,” La Russa said. “He had a real nice bullpen the other day where he stretched out and gained a little stamina.”
Kopech (1.61 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 14 strikeouts over his two starts covering eight innings.