White Sox get dash of instant offense from Tim Anderson

Anderson gets two hits, Andrew Vaughn gets four, and Luis Robert and Josh Harrison both homer in the 8-7 victory over the Blue Jays.

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White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson had two hits Monday night.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson had two hits Monday night.

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

It took no time for Tim Anderson to make his presence felt.

Back in the lineup for the first time since straining his groin May 29, Anderson lined a single to center leading off the first inning for the White Sox in their 8-7 victory against the Blue Jays on Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. Andrew Vaughn followed with a double against Jose Berrios, and the Sox’ homestand was off and running with Anderson dashing from first to home.

“He’s the spark plug of all spark plugs,” Vaughn said. “The man can flat-out hit, and he gets on base dang near all the time.”

Sox hitters followed Anderson’s lead. Vaughn had four hits, including a home run, Josh Harrison hit his first homer of the season and Luis Robert launched a 436-foot homer, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. Vaughn, who raised his average to .330, has reached safely 20 times in his last 34 plate appearances.

It was good to have Anderson, the Sox’ top hitter, shortstop and energy source, back from the injury he suffered against the Cubs.

“I was ready to attack,” Anderson said.

While Anderson was away, the Sox lost their first four games, three of them to the Jays in Toronto, and were 8-10 without him. The Sox are 124-89 since 2020 with Anderson in the lineup and 36-38 without him.

“It feels great to be one person, and they think that highly of me, to be able to slide in one spot and do that much damage,” Anderson said before the game.

Anderson’s return coupled with right-hander Lance Lynn’s formidable mound presence added a double-edged sharpness that had been absent without them. Lynn, who barked at third-base coach Joe McEwing in Detroit during his first start of the season, was yelling to no one in particular and pumping fists after inning-ending strikeouts against the Jays.

“I feel like we [feed off] Lynn big time,” Vaughn said. “It’s huge. That energy, emotion, drive is going to push everybody and lift everybody up.”

Lynn allowed five runs but only three were earned in five-plus innings, throwing 99 pitches. Third baseman Jake Burger made his sixth error in front of Raimel Tapia’s homer in the second, and an error on catcher Reese McGuire on Anderson’s high relay throw in the sixth set up an RBI groundout for the Jays’ fifth run.

Lynn struck out five and should have had six when umpire Ramon De Jesus called ball four on a 3-2 pitch to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the sixth that had all of the plate, leaving Lynn biting on his glove. Teoscar Hernandez followed with an RBI double.

“It’s always fun pitching on the South Side,” Lynn said, “especially in the Southside jerseys. The offense came to play tonight, and we made some plays defensively, too.”

Harrison, who is 12-for-35 in June after an awful April and May, laid out for a diving stop and made two other nice plays at second base.

The Sox got their seventh and eighth runs in the fifth on McGuire’s RBI groundout and Adam Engel’s RBI single. McGuire, who singled in the third against the team that traded him in spring training, has an 11-game hitting streak.

Reynaldo Lopez struck out three in two innings of scoreless relief of Lynn, and Kendall Graveman pitched a scoreless eighth working against the heart of the Jays’ lineup.

“To me, one of the stars is Reynaldo Lopez,” La Russa said. “No bigger star than him.”

Cavan Biggio’s two-run homer against Joe Kelly, who pitched the ninth, made it a one-run game, but the Sox beat the Jays for the first time this season and kept a good thing going after a 4-2 road trip through Detroit and Houston.

But it started with Anderson, who’s batting .357.

“His stroke is a thing of a beauty,” La Russa said. “I mean, he can get to anything. And he set the stage right away.”

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