Liam Hendriks saves both games of White Sox’ sweep Saturday
Hendriks became the first Sox pitcher to save both games of a doubleheader since Bobby Jenks on Sept. 4, 2010, at Boston.
A closer can’t have a better day than Liam Hendriks did Saturday.
Hendriks became the first White Sox pitcher to save both games of a doubleheader since Bobby Jenks on Sept. 4, 2010, at Boston. He closed the first game with two strikeouts and a pop fly before striking out the side in the seventh inning of Game 2.
‘‘Having him — and the [depth] of our bullpen in front of him — gives us a real chance to stay in contention and really be serious about October,’’ manager Tony La Russa said.
After signing a four-year, $54 million contract to anchor the Sox’ bullpen, Hendriks is earning that cash. He has converted eight save chances in a row and has a 2.14 ERA.
‘‘Liam’s been on the consistent train for over a couple of years now,’’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel said. ‘‘He’s shown his worth early in [his] White Sox tenure. Expect nothing less than what he’s been the last two, three years.’’
Moncada goes deep
Third baseman Yoan Moncada’s two-run home run in the sixth inning of Game 1 was his first homer since April 29 and fourth of the season. The power hasn’t been there yet, but La Russa said he has been consistent with quality at-bats.
‘‘As it warms up, there will be enough balls that leave the park,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘He’s another guy that has the ability to hit for a high average, and that’s what we need.’’
Moncada has reached safely in 21 of his last 22 games and has hit .314 during that span.
Keuchel tied a career high by allowing three homers in his five-inning start in Game 1 and called his outing a ‘‘tough one.’’
‘‘It’s weird right now,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘I’m definitely not consistent, so I’m very fortunate to get a lot of run support. Check back in with me here hopefully in June. I’m ready to go on a run. I’m going to need [consistency].’’
Keuchel thought two of the homers came on bad pitches. The third, which was the second by Freddy Galvis, came on a low sinker, but the 3-1 count gave Galvis the edge in the at-bat.
Already in the middle of a busy period, the doubleheader Saturday was the beginning of a stretch of five games in three days for the Sox.
Despite his well-earned reputation as an old-school manager, La Russa has come out in favor of starting extra innings with a runner on second base and Saturday lauded the switch to seven-inning games for doubleheaders.
‘‘You know when a season starts . . . that you’re going to have some difficult makeup days. I’m just, going through this, thankful they’re seven innings. That really works.”
This and that
Outfielder Adam Eaton (hamstring) didn’t play in either game. La Russa said Eaton is probably ‘‘80 to 85%,’’ and the Sox want to get him to 100%.
• Yasmani Grandal started both ends of the doubleheader, becoming the first Sox catcher to do so since Carlton Fisk on June 23, 1989, against the Brewers.
• Right-hander Zack Burdi was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to serve as the 27th man. He was returned to the Knights after not appearing in either game.