Cubs crusher Eloy Jimenez hits two homers, helps White Sox complete series sweep

Jimenez had 10 total bases and drove in five runs in the Sox’ 9-3 victory. Andrew Vaughn and Tim Anderson also homered.

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White Sox’s Eloy Jimenez celebrates at home plate after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sunday.

White Sox’s Eloy Jimenez celebrates at home plate after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sunday.

Paul Beaty/AP

It’s been four years since Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez were traded as Cubs prospects to the White Sox.

If there was any doubt about who won the trade for Jose Quintana, it’s well past the point of safe to say the verdict is in.

Jimenez, a Silver Slugger Award winner last season, and Cease put exclamation points on it Sunday night in a nationally televised 9-3 victory against the Cubs at Wrigley Field when Jimenez homered twice and doubled his first three times up and Cease struck out 10 in five innings. The victory completed a three-game series sweep.

The Sox (66-46) are World Series contenders, and the Cubs (52-61) are phasing into the rebuilding mode the Sox were in when they acquired Jimenez and Cease as top prospects in 2017.

Tim Anderson, Jimenez and Andrew Vaughn homered in the first inning against right-hander Zack Davies to give Cease a 5-0 advantage before he threw a pitch. Jimenez, who has always used getting traded for motivation, had punished Cubs pitchers to the tune of a .344/.417/.750 hitting line before Sunday. When the night was over, Jimenez had five homers, six doubles and 13 RBI in 10 games against the Cubs.

“It’s been awhile, but that’s never going to go away,” Jimenez said. “That is in the past, but it’s still in my mind, you know?”

Jimenez’s homer came with Adam Engel on first, and he followed that with a two-run double down the third-base line in the second, scoring Anderson and Jose Abreu.

“He’s a monster,” manager Tony La Russa said.

Jimenez said he and Cease don’t talk much anymore about being ex-Cubs, “but we always talk about playing hard, especially against them because that was the team we come from,” he said.

Jimenez also talked with fans in the left-field bleachers. Playing in a National League park with no designated forced La Russa to play him in left field or not at all, and Jimenez got three starts in the series.

“I know Cubs fans, I think they hate me,” Jimenez. “But I don’t know. They’ve been good. I have a lot of fun these couple of days. They made me laugh a lot. It’s good to have more black shirts in the stands. It’s been pretty good.”

Cease (9-6, 3.99 ERA) notched his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and third in five starts.

He walked three and struggled with early command problems but retired the last seven batters he faced, five on strikeouts.

“It wasn’t my sharpest game, but getting the win is all that matters,” Cease said. “[But] it was one of the more exciting games of my career [facing the Cubs].”

Persuasive Anderson

Anderson was set to have the night off but talked La Russa into letting him play. La Russa was glad he did when Anderson hit the first pitch of the game from Davies into the right-field bleachers. Anderson also singled and doubled off the right-field wall, his 23rd two-bagger of the season.

Anderson said he found something working in the cage with hitting coach Frank Menechino before the game.

“We can be dangerous when everything is clicking,” Anderson said.

“Getting Eloy locked in and now [Luis] Robert is coming [Monday], then [Yasmani Grandal]. It’s all coming back together.”

On deck

The Sox have 50 games left, 30 against teams at or above .500.

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