Depth carries White Sox to doubleheader sweep of Orioles
The Sox’ 7-4 victory in Game 1 was powered by a home run from Yoan Moncada but also one from Jake Lamb. Their 3-1 victory in Game 2 came thanks to five scoreless innings from Lance Lynn and a two-run homer by Jose Abreu but also a rare homer by Billy Hamilton.
To reach their goals, the White Sox will need contributions from their entire roster.
Whether it’s the big-name stars who fueled the hype entering the season or part-timers not expected to play key roles, the Sox’ depth must come through with outfielders Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez out with long-term injuries.
That’s what happened during their doubleheader sweep Saturday of the Orioles.
The Sox’ 7-4 victory in Game 1 was powered by a home run from Yoan Moncada but also one from Jake Lamb. Their 3-1 victory in Game 2 came thanks to five scoreless innings from Lance Lynn and a two-run homer by Jose Abreu but also a rare homer by Billy Hamilton and strong work out of the bullpen by Codi Heuer.
Those factors — and Liam Hendriks saving both games — combined to move the Sox a season-high 11 games above .500 (31-20). They are 5-1 since getting swept last weekend by the Yankees.
‘‘That’s what you need as the season goes on,’’ Lynn said. ‘‘When you get into the dog days, [you need] guys to step up when it’s their turn to play that day, to perform and be impactful. You’re starting to see that with this group, and that’s what makes it fun to come to the ballpark every day and be a part of these things.’’
Nobody made it more fun than Hamilton, who also made a key play in the sixth inning of Game 2 when he temporarily saved a run by lunging to grab a line drive by Maikel Franco with the bases loaded and nobody out.
His homer in the fourth inning of that game gave the Sox a 1-0 lead against Orioles left-hander John Means. Known for his legs and glove, Hamilton entered the day with only 22 career homers and clearly needed some work on his trot, speeding around the bases after the ball cleared the wall in left.
By the time he reached home, Hamilton’s helmet was long gone. The Sox’ dugout, meanwhile, was celebrating wildly.
‘‘He’s so popular,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘He comes to do something every day to help you win. I looked around, and the guys, their faces were ecstatic. They were celebrating.
‘‘He has to slow his home-run trot down. That’s just way too fast.’’
Hamilton said the dugout pumped him up.
‘‘It’s great being a part of this team,’’ said Hamilton, who was serenaded by a ‘‘BIL-LY! BIL-LY!’’ chant by many of the 20,029 fans. ‘‘Much love over here.’’
Lamb, who started the first game in right field in place of Adam Eaton (hamstring), gave the Sox a 5-1 lead in the third with a two-run homer against Orioles right-hander Matt Harvey. La Russa said Lamb has impressed the rest of the Sox with how he works, even though he hasn’t had many chances.
He had one Saturday and gave the Sox what they needed.
‘‘The guy’s got talent,’’ La Russa said of Lamb.
The Sox have plenty of talent and have survived losing two-thirds of their projected outfield. Their dominant starting rotation has been one reason, and the emergence of Yermin Mercedes has been another.
On Saturday, the whole roster did its part.
‘‘You’re seeing guys that are true professionals, that work every day,’’ Lynn said. ‘‘They’re ready to go whenever their name’s called, and they’re ready to perform.’’