Yasmani Grandal homers twice, drives in eight runs in White Sox’ 17-13 victory against Cubs
Grandal had been on the injured list since July 6 with a torn tendon in his left knee that required surgery.
White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal returned from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte and brought some thump Friday with four hits, including two home runs and a double, and a career-high-tying eight RBI in a 17-13 victory against the Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field.
After getting a standing ovation when he came up for the first time with the bases loaded in the first — after the Cubs had rocked left-hander Dallas Keuchel for six runs — Grandal popped out against right-hander Keegan Thompson. He slammed the bat in frustration, but he pumped a fist the next time up after driving his 15th homer into the right-field stands to tie the score 6-6 in the Sox’ eight-run third.
Grandal added a two-run double in the fifth and another three-run homer in the eighth as the Sox improved to 4-0 against the Cubs this season.
Grandal is the first catcher and 13th player since 1920 to record at least two eight-plus RBI games in his career, per STATS. The eight RBI tied the single-game franchise record, becoming the fifth Sox player to accomplish the feat (sixth time) and first since Robin Ventura on Sept. 4, 1995 at Texas.
Zack Collins, who had become manager Tony La Russa’s second choice at catcher behind Seby Zavala in Grandal’s absence, was optioned to Charlotte to make room for Grandal on the active roster.
Grandal adds a disciplined bat and power to a Sox lineup that hasn’t been at full strength all season because of injuries. The lineup Friday was as close as it has been to being at full strength, and the top six batters combined for 14 hits. Major leagues RBI leader Jose Abreu collected his 98th and 99th RBI, and the Sox scored 10 runs or more in back-to-back games for the first time since April 2017 against the Royals.
‘‘He sets a great example about strike-zone discipline,’’ La Russa said of Grandal. ‘‘If we swing at balls in the strike zone, the contact we make produces. When we struggle, it’s mostly because we’re chasing. He’ll set a real good example, and he’ll have a positive effect.’’
Grandal, 32, will rest Saturday and catch Sunday in the last two games of the series. He landed on the injured list July 6 with a torn tendon in his left knee suffered the day before and had surgery the next day. In his last 26 games, he was hitting .256/.392/.561 with eight homers.
Collins, 26, was hitting .202/.324/.331 with four homers in 72 games.
Keuchel routed, Lopez perfect
Keuchel fell behind 3-0 on a three-run homer by the Cubs’ Patrick Wisdom three batters into the game, got two outs, then allowed four consecutive hits for three more runs. The Cubs sent 10 batters to the plate in the first.
When Frank Schwindel led off the second with a single, La Russa went to right-hander Reynaldo Lopez.
Five of the runs against Keuchel were earned. He allowed seven hits and saw his ERA climb to 5.00 in the shortest start of his career. Keuchel’s previous low was 2 1⁄3 innings Sept. 29, 2012 at Milwaukee.
Lopez became the first Sox reliever to throw five perfect innings since Eddie Cicotte in 1917. He retired all 15 batters he faced and struck out seven. He is the second pitcher in the modern era (since 1901) to throw five-plus perfect innings of relief with seven or more strikeouts, along with Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook on April 19, 2004 against the the Tigers.
Lopez is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA and 22 strikeouts in nine relief appearances this season.
Yoan Moncada extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Moncada is hitting .347/.439/.449
with two doubles and one home run in that stretch.
Room at the top
With the Sox running away with the American League Central while the Cubs regroup and rebuild, general manager Rick Hahn was asked whether Cubs fans are welcome to jump on the Sox’ bandwagon.
‘‘We’re open to anyone who wants to come in and root for the White Sox,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘ . . . It would be a shame for anyone to miss out. So welcome aboard.’’