Andrew Vaughn homers, breaks tie, helps White Sox end losing streak at eight

Dylan Cease pitched six strong innings of two-run ball.

SHARE Andrew Vaughn homers, breaks tie, helps White Sox end losing streak at eight
The White Sox’s Andrew Vaughn rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run off Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Scott Barlow during the seventh inning Wednesday.

The White Sox’s Andrew Vaughn rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run off Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Scott Barlow during the seventh inning Wednesday.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Andrew Vaughn broke a tie with a home run in the seventh inning Wednesday afternoon.

Everyone took a deep breath of 39-degree air and exhaled.

Manager Tony La Russa did a little dance.

And there was music playing in the clubhouse.

The White Sox’ losing streak was over at eight games.

Vaughn’s blast, on the first pitch from Royals reliever Scott Barlow, followed two-out singles by Danny Mendick and Tim Anderson and powered the Sox to a 7-3 victory at cold and gray Guaranteed Rate Field, the Sox’ first win in 11 days.

The game was changed to the afternoon with even colder weather expected Wednesday night.

The homer, Vaughn’s team-leading fourth, came after the Royals had been handcuffed on no hits through five innings by Dylan Cease, but they chipped away at a 3-0 deficit with two runs in the sixth without the benefit of a hard-hit ball, then added a run in the seventh against Jose Ruiz and Bennett Sousa.

Cease (3.27 ERA) had perhaps his best stuff of the season, retiring the first 13 batters, striking out nine and allowing two runs, three hits and three walks in six innings. To see the Royals erase the lead he was staked to was to watch more of the same bad stuff that stung the Sox during a losing streak tainted with poor defense and hitting.

But, finally, a game ending without incident unfolded before their very eyes.

“Everybody’s laughing, having a good time, music’s bumping when you come back in,” third baseman Jake Burger said. “We want to keep it that way.”

It had been awhile.

“That was a more solid game in every facet,” said La Russa, who smiled and shuffled his feet in a jubilant way stepping into the interview room. “Just in a great mood. I can’t wait to celebrate.”

The losing streak was the Sox’ longest since 2018. They lead the majors with 20 errors but played a clean game against Kansas City. Even bullpen catcher Miguel Gonzalez got into the act, making a nice catch of Vaughn’s lofty homer in the Sox’ pen.

“Obviously that streak was not ideal and not enjoyable,” Cease said. “We have a lot of guys who have 10-plus years here, and they’ve gone through it all. They did a good job of keeping us on track.”

The Sox hadn’t scored more than four runs since April 13 and were hitting .179/.233/.274 with 22 runs in their previous 11 games.

“Something to build from,” Vaughn said. “But we have more in the tank.”

Vaughn also doubled in a run, and Burger homered, doubled and singled against Royals starter Zack Greinke. Vaughn batted second, taking injured Luis Robert’s spot.

“There were a lot of times during [his rookie] year [last season] where he was our best run producer,” La Russa said. “Then toward the end, he got a little tired maybe. But he’s a better hitter than he was last year, and he was good last year.”

The Sox are 7-10 and in good hands with Michael Kopech (0.64 ERA) starting the series finale Thursday. The Royals have lost five of six.

“The key is bringing the same sort of intensity every game,” Cease said. “What’s been done in the past is irrelevant. Every game is a new game. That’s the biggest thing, bring your A-game every game.”

After this one, La Russa said he received texts from good friends immediately.

“I said, ‘It’s just a game, no big deal.’ Bullcrap,’’ he said.

La Russa laughed when he said it. Not when you’ve lost eight straight.

“This is life here: winning and losing,” he said.

The Latest
The Cubs sit at 47-53 with a negative run differential as their playoff chances continue to decrease.
White Sox (27-73) become 14th team with 73-plus losses in first 100 games
Iconic New York rappers De La Soul kicked off the evening of Pitchfork Day 2 in Union Park.
Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark are the lone rookies making their All-Star debuts in Phoenix.
Kahleah Copper will make her Olympic debut in her ninth WNBA season. She accomplished the goal with steady improvement each year.