Luis Robert is on a roll, and it couldn’t be happening at a better time.
“Just trying to carry this into the postseason, and that’s what everyone in the clubhouse is trying to do,” Robert said after belting two home runs, including a 445-foot shot, in the White Sox’ 7-1 victory over the Reds on Tuesday before 25,242 entertained fans at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Playing at home for the first time since clinching the American League Central title on an 11-game road trip, the Sox (90-68) also got home runs from Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets and six innings of one-run ball from Reynaldo Lopez. Leury Garcia tried to give the fans one more thrill, attempting an inside-the-park homer when Reds center fielder TJ Friedl slipped while charging a sinking liner, but he came up short.
Robert stole the show, however. He has homered in three of his last five games and is hitting .367/.403/.645 with 11 homers, 13 doubles, 33 RBI and 29 runs scored in 39 games since returning from the injured list Aug. 9.
It was the 12th time the Sox have hit at least four home runs in a game, tying a franchise record set in 2006, the last season in which the Sox won 90 games.
Lopez (4-3, 2.98 ERA) struck out four and walked none.
The band back together
Because of injuries, Tuesday’s game was only the seventh time Moncada, Robert, Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez and Yasmani Grandal were in the lineup together.
With Sheets, Cesar Hernandez and Garcia rounding it out, it had the look of a possible playoff lineup.
“It’s possible,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I don’t know yet. The next five days is an opportunity for a couple, three guys to not show that they deserve the at-bats but to show their timing is right.”
Andrew Vaughn is 6-for-67 in his last 18 games, compared to .303/.367/.528 with 10 homers over his previous 54.
La Russa will balance rest with need during the last week of the regular season, which ends Sunday. The Astros hold a 2œ-game lead plus the tiebreaker for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“So we’ll see what the smart strategy will be as far as the hitters,” La Russa said. “Clearly if the guy’s bat is getting a little heavy, he should get less. If he feels great, the more at-bats, the better.”
Postseason tickets on sale
Single-game playoff tickets go on sale at 2 p.m. Wednesday at whitesox.com.
Tickets to two potential AL Division Series and four potential AL Championship Series games at Guaranteed Rate Field will be available. Fans will be limited to four tickets per game. Tickets for games not played will be refunded.
If the season ended today, the Sox would be the No. 3 seed in the AL playoffs and face the second-seeded Astros. Games 1 and 2 would be next Thursday and Friday, with Games 3 and 4 (if necessary) in Chicago.
This and that
Right-hander Ryan Tepera (cut index finger) still hadn’t thrown a bullpen session without a cover on his finger as he works his way back from the injured list.
“Hopefully, we’ll get him in games this weekend,” La Russa said. “We’ll see how that goes.”
† Adam Engel (leg) was available Tuesday and is penciled in to play Wednesday.