Sox manager Tony La Russa, on Field of Dreams game: ‘Baseball hit a grand slam’

Though he could not attend the game, La Russa was able to watch with family. His feelings about the event matched the sentiment across the rest of the country.

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MLB at Field of Dreams - Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees

The Field of Dreams Game garnered close to 6 million TV viewers, the highest for a regular-season baseball game since 2005.

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Though he couldn’t attend the ‘‘Field of Dreams’’ game Thursday in Dyersville, Iowa, in person because of a family funeral, White Sox manager Tony La Russa still was able to watch it. His feelings about the event matched the sentiment across the rest of the country.

‘‘Baseball really hit a grand slam,’’ La Russa said before the Sox’ game against the Yankees on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. ‘‘It turned out to be a game that you think would have been scripted on a Hollywood movie lot or something. It was amazing.’’

The game garnered close to 6 million TV viewers, the most for a regular-season baseball game since 2005.

The dramatic finish, with Tim Anderson’s walk-off home run into the corn, and general enthusiasm at the game provided a temporary shot of energy to the players. La Russa said they were overwhelmed by the excitement and buzz.

Coming back from that, however, La Russa said he wanted his guys focusing on the rest of the series against the Yankees.

‘‘It’s not going to help us today,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘If we’re still celebrating, we’ll probably lose an edge. Enjoy the moment and understand the goal is to win a series, and we’re up one. Concentrate.’’

The game Thursday wasn’t all positive, however. Closer Liam Hendriks blew a save opportunity for the sixth time this season, giving up two-run homers to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the ninth inning. Those brought his season total to 10 homers allowed.

Hendriks hadn’t given up 10 homers in a season since 2013 with the Twins, but La Russa said he isn’t concerned.

‘‘Usually they are times when he is challenging, and the hitter won,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘The bigger the challenge, the more focused he is. Once in a while, maybe [he tries] to do too much. But he’s proved in clutch time he rises to the occasion.’’

Vaughn handling full season

Andrew Vaughn wasn’t in the starting lineup Saturday, but he appeared in his 100th game of the season when he grounded into a force at the plate as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded in the sixth. That’s nearly twice as many as he played in the minors in 2019.

Vaughn played in a combined 160 games across three seasons in college at Cal, so his workload this season is already far beyond anything he has done before.

‘‘He shows no signs of wearing down,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘His conditioning and his mind are so strong that he looks to me like Opening Day.’’

La Russa said the decision not to start Vaughn was based on the Yankees starting right-hander Jameson Taillon. Vaughn has a 1.041 OPS against left-handed pitchers and a .679 OPS against right-handers.

Sox turn around HR numbers

Luis Robert’s first home at-bat since his hip injury May 2 came in the second inning, and he hit a 438-foot homer to center field. That gave the Sox 66 homers since June 30, which leads the majors.

That’s a reversal from where they were the first three months of the season. From Opening Day till June 29, they had 72 homers, good for 28th in the majors.

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