DETROIT — The White Sox are hitting again. They saved an overworked bullpen. And they completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers on Wednesday with a 13-0 romp at Comerica Park.
Aside from oppressive heat and the seemingly daily dose of injury news — right-handed reliever Kyle Crick landed on the injured list with elbow inflammation — it was a needed, drama-free way for a struggling team to find some momentum heading into a three-game series against a much better team in the Astros this weekend.
The Sox (30-31) had lost four of five at home before this trip. A series win was badly needed. A sweep was soothing icing on a sweltering day.
“A day like this is good for your mind, your confidence,” said Yoan Moncada, who was mobbed by teammates in the dugout after his three-run homer in the first inning. “During a bad stretch, you can get a little down. It helps to reinforce your confidence.”
Danny Mendick and Seby Zavala also homered, and Moncada, who began his season May 9 because of an oblique strain and has struggled since, broke loose with a career-high five hits plus five RBI. It was the first long ball since May 14 from a hitter whose production has been sorely lacking. Moncada (.181) put 40 points on his batting average.
“He showed the stroke of a .300 hitter today,” said manager Tony La Russa, who was encouraged by what he saw. “Turned on an inside pitch. He really has a beautiful stroke. I think we can expect him to hit for a high average.”
Jose Abreu had four hits and drove in two runs, Andrew Vaughn followed a four-hit night with three more hits and AJ Pollock had his seventh consecutive multihit game. Abreu is batting .362 with 18 RBI in his last 27 games. Vaughn is batting .400 in his last 14.
The Sox’ last five wins have come by four or more runs, and they’ve done it without Tim Anderson, their top hitter, who isn’t expected back until after the Astros series. They had four such wins in their first 52 games.
Every hitter in the starting lineup had at least one hit, including Josh Harrison, who might be fighting for his spot on the roster with Mendick looking like an every-day player in the middle of the infield in Anderson’s absence.
“The boys came to work today,” La Russa said.
The Sox had a season-high 22 hits, seven of them (with two runs) in the last three innings against position players Harold Castro, Kody Clemens and Tucker Barnhart. Their previous season high was 16 on June 5 at Tampa Bay. They’re hitting .335 and averaging 8.4 runs in the last seven games.
Davis Martin’s fastball command was on point as he pitched 5„ innings of three-hit ball with no walks for the win after starter Vince Velasquez, reinstated from the IL before the game, pitched 2‰ scoreless innings.
“The fact we swept this team was a big energy boost going into the series in Houston,” Velasquez said.
Martin received a postgame shower of “beer, potato salad, ranch [dressing], shaving cream, body wash and overnight oats” for his first major-league win. He lowered his ERA to 3.05.
“It was a great experience, something I’ll remember the rest of my life,” Martin said.
It was hard to remember the last time the Sox enjoyed a needed blowout — because it came on the third game of the season, a 10-1 win over the Tigers (24-38), who are 1-5 against the Sox.
“When you see several guys starting to swing and each guy feels like the responsibility to get hits is going to be shared,” La Russa said. “No doubt we’re taking better at-bats.”
NOTES: Michael Kopech will throw a bullpen on the day off Thursday in Houston, testing his right knee for clearance to start Sunday night against the Astros.
• Jake Burger (bruised right hand) was available off the bench Wednesday and is expected to be ready to play Friday, La Russa said.